## Sunday, May 25, 2008

### Christina Romer: Berkeley vs Harvard

Update: On November 24th, 2008, Romer was said to be nominated as the head of the Council of Economic Advisors by Barack Obama. You should also read a lot of stuff on this blog about Lawrence Summers.
Christina Romer is one of the most achieved female economists in the world. I wouldn't necessarily be thrilled by her politics (Obama's campaign etc.) but if you read some of her papers, it is clear that she is the real deal. You will have a hard time to find another female economist with papers with hundreds of citations and over 20 papers with more than 20 citations.

Together with her husband, they were planning to move from Berkeley to Harvard because the place had all kinds of logistic advantages (aging parents on both sides living in Massachusetts, kids moving to MIT). Everything seemed to work up to the moment when Drew Gilpin Faust, the new Harvard president who replaced Lawrence Summers after the feminists' uprising against his ability to think, vetoed the move.
Harvard Crimson
The new Harvard president remained silent about her motives, no one else knows the reason either, and no one has even suggested an understandable hypothetical justification. The people who know Romer seem to be upset.

We don't have the complete information but I would still offer two general comments:
• Quite generally, it is strange and counterproductive whenever relative dwarves - profesionally speaking - are deciding about relative giants, especially when the criteria should be related to the very matters in which the dwarves are dwarves - in this case, we talk about scholarly matters. This is where the governments usually converge and this fact is the true tragedy of the commons. Lawrence Summers would have credentials for such a veto (that he would be unlikely to use in this case) but Drew Gilpin Faust doesn't.

• It is a widespread myth that women in executive jobs are more likely to hire other women. My experience - that is also supported by an obvious theory - says exactly the opposite. It is the men who typically (96 percent?) prefer to be surrounded by the opposite sex. When the employees are more achieved than the officials (or at least comparable), the female officials are more affected by jealousy. When the employees are less competent than the officials, women are more likely to notice and to figure out that the difference is not due to a different "image" of the two sexes.