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Greg Mankiw Wants to Move Harvard

Greg Mankiw wants to move Harvard to someplace better adapted to human life than Massachusetts:

Here is what I would consider.... Harvard could create a second campus in another state. Call it Harvard South. (Put it in a better climate than Boston, and I would be one of the first faculty to volunteer for the move.) Transfer much of the endowment to Harvard South. Support Harvard North by slowly selling off land in Massachusetts. Eventually, make Harvard South the main campus, and Harvard North the satellite. If Massachusetts state lawmakers remain hostile, close Harvard North down entirely.... I have often wondered what the efficient scale of a university is and, in particular, whether it would be better to create a second Harvard with the university's wealth than to expand the first one. Maybe the Massachusetts state legislature will give the powers-that-be at Harvard an incentive to consider more radical expansion plans.

There may be a Pareto-improvement possible here. Extrapolating from how much it cost to get Tom Campbell here at Berkeley formally called the Bank of America Dean of the Haas School of Business, I am confident that it would cost relatively little--perhaps 5% of Harvard's current endowment--to get us to be willing to rename this campus the Harvard University of California at Berkeley. And while I haven't talked to department chair Hermalin or personnel chair Shannon about this, I do think their judgment would be that adverse selection problems are low enough and Harvard's standards in economics high enough that we would be willing to issue a blanket offer to its faculty (but this would not, I understand, be the case in some other fields, computer science and chemistry for example). For Greg I'd even be willing to give up my office, with its $10M view of the Golden Gate, San Francisco, and its bay from its perch 100 feet above Berkeley's faculty glade. (Although if he wants both the west and the south view, he would have to strike a deal with Maury Obstfeld.)

There is one important proviso. Harvard's administrators--everyone who works in Massachusetts Hall, University Hall, and whatever that atrocity on the south side of Harvard Square is called--would have to stay behind. Even if we had not been certain of this point before, this month's Harvard ad-hoc committee personnel decisions have fixed our resolve. I had always thought that "when they heard the news, they couldn't stop laughing" was hyperbole. But it took John Quigley five full minutes before he could say an intelligible word...