Ian Chubb notes how the current funding system for undergraduate education distorts research funding at Universitiesˆ. The point is correct and will continue as long as undergraduate education is tied to research funding. Economics has generally benefitted from this link in terms of resources. However, whether comparing across disciplines or across institutions, the problem is the same. My suggested solution is here. It is not perfectˆˆ. However, the debate needs to be had.
ˆ If the ‘paywall’ stops you the basic argument is that University funding for academic resources follows undergraduate numbers. Thus popular disciplines get to hire more academics (and remember that 30-40% of their salary is for research) and this harms less popular areas that may be more worthy of research. To quote:
This means that as a whole, more, probably much more, than 50 per cent of all government spending on research is seriously influenced by the choices of our 17- and 18-year-olds.
ˆˆI can see the issues of completely separating research and graduate teaching from the undergraduate pots-of-gold. It places research institutions very much at the mercy of government and their funding. So perhaps there should be, say, eight graduate schools that have undergraduate arms but most undergraduate teaching in other institutions with professional undergraduate teachers. As I note in the comments – this would lead to one hell of a fight between who is ‘in’ and ‘out’ of the eight.