Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall), Grant Funded Research:
Paul Campos of the University of Colorado is once again confused by my research with Frank McIntyre. This time, the source of Professor Campos’s confusion is not present value calculations, but rather grant funding.
The Economic Value of a Law Degree was not funded through grants. No disclosure of grant funding appears in that article because there was no funding to disclose.
Two follow up studies, Timing Law School and an upcoming study about differences in the law earnings premium by college major, race and gender, are funded through grants from Access Group, Inc., a non-profit that provides financial education to students and schools and aims to promote broad access to education, and the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which is an important provider of data and research about law schools (see here and here). ...
I do think that external funding of research can potentially raise a number of issues. I’ve alluded to these in my research on Risk Based Student Loans and Mortgage Securitization. Scholars who have written about these issues thoughtfully include Derek Bok, Luigi Zingales (see the chapter on “The Responsibilities of the Intellectuals”), and several researchers affiliated with the Safra Center at Harvard. In my and Frank’s case, the grants simply provided us with resources to do better and faster what we would have liked to do anyway, and perhaps moved certain projects higher up on our list of priorities.
I see a lot of value in universities having the necessary resources internally to support research on topics that are not necessarily amendable to external grant funding. If Professor Campos believes that law schools should support that kind of research, and charge tuition levels that are necessary to support it, then we agree.
If Professor Campos or anyone else has a substantive critique of our methods or our data, we welcome constructive feedback. Indeed, substantive critiques of the working paper version of the Economic Value of a Law Degree improved the published study and helped inspire Timing Law School and our upcoming follow-up.