Cool research. A team of 7 researchers, using 3 databases of individuals who are culturally important through history, plotted the migration of those individuals to determine cultural centers.
They visualize this for America:
That really gives meaning to the idea of flyover states. But, pause it and look around a bit. Check out the importance of:
Cincinnati and Louisville in the early to mid 19th century.
How about the Erie Canal being traced out.
The absence of much at all across the Black Belt of the deep South.
San Francisco popping out of nowhere in the 1850’s (before, and everyone forgets about this, not really thriving well after that).
The necklace of cities along the Union Pacific route, through Kansas City, Denver, and Salt Lake City.
The way Salt Lake City and the west coast attract people who bypassed the east coast completely.
The outsized attraction of New Orleans in the early 20th century (as its primacy as a port faded)
The development of the triangle in Texas as oil boomed.
The huge migration to Los Angeles starting in the 1920’s.
And towards the end, the influx of people into Florida.
And for Europe:
During its heydey, notice how the Roman Empire is actually fairly tenuous across the west: everyone’s in Rome in a way they’ve never been in New York.
But as the Empire fades, the centers of western European cultural start popping up before (and during) the barbarian invasions.
The Dark Ages are pretty dark, but there’s clustering across the region we still associate with medieval history: from the Ile de France, arcing northeast towards the low countries, and then back southeast across the central Rhine valley.
In the 12th century, look for Seville and Cordoba popping up under the Moors in Spain. Paris gets brighter at the same time.
Not much going on in northern Italy, until the bright lights come on in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Check out Amsterdam in the 17th century.
I found Vienna quieter than I expected in the 17th and 18th centuries. But look at the lights of Budapest, Prague, and Cracow.
St. Petersburg pops out of nowhere after its founding in the early 18th century.
By 1900, Germany has bright lights … everywhere.
And look at England … whole bunches of people leaving to go to America. Look closely, and you can see some of them coming from Germany in the 1930’s.
You can also see many eastern Europeans heading in the direction of Moscow in the mid 20th century.
But, at my school, where well over half of the current expenses, and essentially all of the capital expenses, are funded by taxpayers — the big push is to get everyone to graduate in less than 6 years. I’m all for students knowing what they want to do, and getting through college in 4 years (like I did). But it seems to me that the motivation these days has nothing to do with making the students better off when pushing them through quicker.
And the professors — who are supposed to engage in life-long learning — are increasingly pushers of assessment paperwork. And the lack of quality control on that paperwork is stunning.
There’s a bit of a firestorm on campus, with an official letter of clarification sent out to faculty by SUU’s new president after coverage on the local radio turned … hmmm … misinformative.
Here’s the straight story:
Harry Reid is a 1959 graduate of SUU’s former incarnation as the 2-year College of Southern Utah.
SUU’s last president was a pretty good fundraiser.
Under SUU’s last president, a number of campus “engagement centers” were created. These were in name only; they aren’t supported much in the way of line items in the budget, and are intended to attract external funding.
One of these was named after Harry Reid. There was a pretty obvious notion that supporters of Reid would contribute money to support the new center. I don’t think anyone had any illusions that they’d most likely have to be supporters from outside of Utah.
Basically no money came in to support the Harry Reid Center and it never opened in an official sense (whatever “opened” means when you use bureaucratic-speak about whatever the heck an engagement center actually is).
The Harry Reid Center was later merged with another center which had low, albeit better, support.
The Harry Reid name was retained on the merged center, again, thinking he’d have some supporters that would contribute money.
There was confusion because there is no basis in public knowledge for attaching Harry Reid’s name to an “Outdoor Engagement” center. Management of the Outdoor Engagement Center pointed out that the name was not benefitting them.
The concept of outdoor engagement continues to attract some external funding, while the Harry Reid name brings in nothing to SUU.
So administration split the centers again. SUU retains a Harry Reid center (feel free to donate to support it).
The current SUU president stated explicitly that donations for outdoor engagement that were contingent on removing Harry Reid’s name from that center were declined.
You can make what you want of that. I report, you decide.
As a business professor, I will note that this sounds like a typical problem in brand management that probably does not deserve a firestorm. Executive decisions about weak brands are often messy.
The really big implication here is that Harry Reid is not a brand that’s successful: nationally, Democrats ought to think long and hard about what it means to have a Senate majority leader whose brand even they don’t support.
And heck … as an economist, I’ll point out that if you’re a Democrat the marginal benefit of donating money on behalf of a Harry Reid center would be highest if that center was located in one of the reddest states.
Finally, would it be cynical or realistic of me to point out that this is prima facie evidence that perhaps the contemporary Democratic party really doesn’t care much about the red states?
FWIW: I quipped in the office that if SUU wanted to name something after Harry Reid that was relevant to his time here, perhaps it should be the general studies or associates degree programs … since we were a 2-year school when he was here.
I wrote a paper that just came out as a book chapter. One of my co-authors is Kyle Bishop. His office is in the building next door. And yet, we met face-to-face once on the entire project (the first time we’d ever talked to each other), and we did the rest through e-mail and Google Docs. It was really one of the easiest co-authoring relationships I’ve ever had.
But I can’t beat what they’ve done at EconBrowser. James Hamilton and Menzie Chen have been working on their blog together for 10 years, and they met for the first time this past week.
Most people are surprised to learn that although Menzie and I have been working as a cyberspace team and have been in nonstop email communication with each other every week for the last 10 years, we had never met in person until this week. Fate finally brought us together in non-cyberspace reality when we converged in Boston for seminars and discussions hosted by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
It turns out that the Census Bureau counts just about any student living away at college (in the dorms, in student housing, and so on) as living in their parents’ home.
That actually makes some sense: it’s not like most college students have established a permanent residence — for the whole year (since we do most demographics on an annual basis) — from their parents, right?
Here’s the charts to help make sense of what this means in the data. First off, 20-somethings are a lot less likely to be married, but more likely to be living every other way:
Do note that there is definitely an uptick in people living at home with their parents since the Great Recession.
But also this note, showing that most of that is because they’re in college:
Note that this is not graduated-from-college-within-the-last-couple-of-years-and-can’t-find-a-job. That’s the bottom shaded area, and it’s declined over the last generation, and the uptick over the last 10 years is pretty modest.
So … lighten up … and tell the old folks to lighten up too. ;)
Having said that, do note that the center section will also include people staying in college because they can’t or won’t find a job and move out. So the millenials are not completely absolved here, but college towns have been full of “permanent students” for a very long time, and there’s little evidence that his phenomenon has gotten worse. And in fact, most universities are actually pushing students harder to get out the door than ever before.
Cross-posted from SUU Macroblog, which is required reading for my students.
This is the problem with speaking the “emotional truth,” … part of a lot of rhetorically counterproductive strategies … People will make claims that I know to be factually inaccurate, or will advance ideas that I find politically misguided, and I will push back. When confronted, they will say something like “I am entitled to my anger,” leaping back and forth from a position of making a dispassionate economic analysis to a position of emotional truth that I am therefore, in their minds, obliged not to contradict. There are all sorts of ways bad arguments and misleading information get excused in these debates– “it’s agitprop! it’s not intended to be factual! it’s meant first to provoke!”– and I think each of these, while certainly understandable, are ultimately unproductive.
He’s writing about adjuncts complaining that universities use too many adjuncts … but he could just as well be discussing why macroeconomics is so hard.
Steve ought to put together a Google Scholar page before his soon-to-be-former employer erases his scholarly presence from their sites … because … you know … it’s the employer that makes the scholar, not the scholars that make the university. Anyway, here’s what I found with a direct search for SH Karlson on Google Scholar.
Steve is the sole author of Cold Spring Shops. He’s made noises from time to time about giving up blogging. I’m one person who hopes he doesn’t. I’m sure there’s some double-counting involved, but Google says this blog linked to Cold Spring Shops 319 times over the last 10 years.
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