Bryan Caplan  

My Contigency Plan

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Stanford Marshmallow Experimen... The Golddigger's Dilemma...

After this morning's lecture on the life cycle model, I explained to my students that I'm never going to retire. Why would I give up a decent fraction of my income and most of my social network, when a professor's only observable responsibility is teaching 6 hours of class 30 weeks a year?

One sharp student shot back: "What if you get Alzheimer's?"

Good question. My answer:

"I'll teach intro."


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COMMENTS (8 to date)
Stan writes:
Acad Ronin writes:

With all due affection and respect, that was a smart-ass answer. Teaching intro to a bunch of people that don't think like economists and who may be taking it because they have to to fulfil some requirement is arguably tougher than teaching people who have self-selected into the field based on prior experience. Poor intro teaching will lead to fewer students in the elective courses.

Horatio writes:

I would rather retire today and live to 60 than retire at 60 and live to 100. I'll read and play golf all day.

Roy Haddad writes:

Another reason: remaining intellectually active will greatly lesson the chance that you get Alzheimer's in the first place.

Carla writes:

I beg to differ on this comment. At this point in your life you may love being a professor and think that you are always going to love it, which is great! But, according to the law of diminishing marginal utility as more and more of a good is consumed the added satisfaction of consuming yet another unit will actually diminish. So, I feel that as the number of years of teaching experience increase, the less satisfaction you are going to get from it. After 30 or so years those 6 hours a week you spend in class could be spent somewhere else where more satisfaction is gained thus maximizing your total utility.

james writes:

Its funny to hear a professor say that they would enjoy teaching the rest of their life and not retire. It always seems like every teacher or professor I ever had always complains about little pay. Our how their hair is getting gray because stress levels or so on.

meep writes:

I've seen tenured profs forced out due to senility.

Of course, the depts were math and physics, and other depts may find it relatively easy to keep those with mental disabilities on the faculty. I never took econ in college, so I wouldn't be able to say anything there.

Kyle writes:

Last year, I would sit in class and wonder if my professor was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. He constantly told the same stories and relived his life in the "real world" so the students could learn from his experiences. It got to the point where we could tell his stories better than he could. That was a 400 level course...he now teaches intro.

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