Who knew that Dr. Tufte with his kick-back demeanor and smooth hairstyle was on the way to being rich? “How Much Can College Economics Professors Make?”

“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for economics teachers…averaged nearly $140,000 a year -- based on a 52-week year -- in 2003” 52 weeks! That’s an overstatement…the majority of teachers only teach 9 months out of the year which equals about 40-42 weeks.

The demand for economists has definitely made for a good yearly pay for some economists. Some senior economics faculty make “$150,000 to $250,000 for nine months' work.” While some make their fortunes at high paying schools, others stay around at lower paying colleges to for the simple enjoyment of the profession.

“The sheer growth of the field also is playing a role as schools rush to expand their programs. Among the most ambitious is New York's Columbia University, which is enlarging its department from 28 to the equivalent of 41 full-time professors, plus an additional five visiting professors each year. Such growth has helped create a hiring rush at all levels.” This is why some schools are willing to pay the big bucks for economists like Dr. Tufte.

To check out more about his topic, read “The Market for Academic Economists”.


Bart said...

I figure if you can keep all of that calculus and supply and demand curves and all of the other junk that you have to know to teach economics then they should pay you really well.

Marie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marie said...

I think that Dr. Tufte will be disappointed with that news. I'm sure it has been awhile since he has received a raise from SUU. I wish I didn't suck at economics so much. That sounds like pretty easy living once you get all of the demand and supply down.

Dr. Tufte said...

Aww MEG - what a card. What's with the hair obsession? Would you rather I looked like Eraserhead?

Please keep in mind folks that when they say 52 week salary, they have to inflate a professors 34-36 week salary by about 50%. Most people can't actually make that 50% extra in the summer (although most prefer not to try in the first place).

Economics professors make a lot, but not as much as those in Finance and IS. All of those reflect the fact that we have skills that get paid seriously for in the private sector.

There is a problem in extending this data to other fields though. The salaries that high demand professors get paid are skewed to the right. That will tend to make the average salary higher than the median. The median salary of economics professors is much closer to other professors because most of us can't command the big bucks.

The academic market is funny in two other respects as well.

First off, we only make serious raises by playing the free agent market. And there are a lot of monetary and non-monetary costs associated with moving (I have moved 4 times and raised my salary substantially on two of them).

Secondly, being a professor isn't for everyone. I am conditioned to think about economics all the time. I like it that way, but if you are someone who has to leave their job at work you cannot succeed in this profession.

Marie is partially right - getting raises to cover inflation would be nice. On the other hand, I did get a substantial raise to come here, so I am doing OK over the long haul.

Ummm ... if I leave out a tip jar will Bart toss me a few coins after a really hot lecture on oligopoly? ;)>