Dan Drezner raises the plausible possibility that the real reason for the objection of some 8% (101) of the full-time faculty to the Milton Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago, which we blogged about earlier here, is “grounded less on ideology and more on an effort to ensure these departments get a bigger slice of the pie.” HT: Jon Adler. The letter itself concedes that funding is a motivating factor for some dissenters:
Many of us are also perturbed that other units of the University that routinely engage the issues that the Friedman Institute is designed to address were not included in the planning, nor included in the ongoing core scholarly endeavors of the Institute….
Still others believe that, given the influx of private contributions to the MFI, the University now has the opportunity to provide roughly equivalent resources for critical scholarly work that seeks out alternatives to recent economic, social, and political developments.
And for more support for Drezner’s theory, he points out that: “the modal department affiliations of the petitioners are Anthropology, East Asian Languages, English, History, and Political Science.”
In my prior post, I noted that “I’m particularly interested to know whether any members of the University of Chicago Law School signed this or alternatively, have publicly supported the Milton Friedman Institute.” Well, from the list of signatories, we can answer the first question. None from the law school. But what about the lack of public support? I’ve seen a few economists come out in defense of the Milton Friedman Institute, e.g. Steve Levitt, but nothing so far from Chicago’s law school faculty unless I’ve missed it.