New Boffins on the Block

My group (Economics RSSS) have just completed a hiring round, in which we’ve picked up four terrific senior academics: Xin Meng, Bob Breunig, Tim Hatton, and 60% of Richard Cornes. As it turns out, all are moving to us from another part of the Australian National University, so expect more hiring to take place in ANU economics over the next year.

And speaking of ANU economics, the ANU Economics Showcase is on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. If you’re in the Canberra area, admission is free and open to the public.

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11 Responses to New Boffins on the Block

  1. conrad says:

    The wonders of nepotism in Australian universities. Couldn’t you even have one from somewhere else?

  2. Andrew Leigh says:

    So we should have hired a less talented applicant merely because they were an outsider?

  3. conrad says:

    I don’t who the applicants were, so I can’t answer that, but I’d be surprised if Australia’s number one university wouldn’t attract a fairly reasonable field from outside Canberra (maybe there’s a Canberra effect, so I could be wrong). Even my crappy university attracts good people from time to time.

    Perhaps this isn’t an incidence of it, but if I look at the bad people universities in Australia hire (including my own) due to connections versus ability, and had to calculate the odds that 4 from 4 people given jobs in an identical field at an identical time all coincidentally came from the university which was the one giving the jobs, I know which way I’d bet.

  4. Andrew Leigh says:

    Conrad, I was perhaps too glib in my first response. You’re right that Guanxi can potentially be a problem in academic hiring. But in this case, that’s not what happened. Given the applicants, we chose the best. At the senior level, where people have to move their families, I think “the Canberra effect” really is a problem for ANU.

  5. Damien Eldridge says:

    Why would Canberra deter people with families? I can’t think of a better place to raise a family than Canberra. The schools are great, the facilities are great, the lifestyle is great. It combines the best that big cities have to offer with the best that small country towns have to offer. admittedly, I grew up there, so I might be biased. But then again, I grew up there, so I ought to know what it is like!!!

    On top of that, RSSS has a big advantage when hiring research active academics. It doesn’t require them to do much, if any, teaching. Of course, the fixed term contracts at RSSS are a disadvantage. The added security of an on-going position is nice. Does RSSS have any permanent positions?

  6. Damien Eldridge says:

    As an aside, there seems to be a problem with the RSSS homepage. The only link s that seem to work are the ANU logo and the one that says “links”.

  7. Damien Eldridge says:

    That should be “the homepage of the Economics Program at RSSS”.

  8. Andrew Leigh says:

    Damien, I’m not sure what was wrong with the link (it all works for me, but I’m internal). However, I’ve changed it to another bit of the site, so maybe that will work better.

    RSSS has a combination of fixed-term and permanent positions. All our four new hires are on permanent contracts. I’m also lucky enough to have a permanent contract here.

  9. Sinclair Davidson says:

    It combines the best that big cities have to offer with the best that small country towns have to offer.

    Some of us have been to Canberra …

  10. Indeed!!! I grew up there. It is a wonderful city. 🙂

  11. christine says:

    I’m very sure I remember Damien’s line from APS recruiting. (And it’s close to the beach and the ski fields!) FWIW, I liked Canberra too except for the cold, and I wasn’t even born there.

    I suspect mid-level recruiting from out of town is just difficult no matter where you are, to be honest.

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