In the NZZ, Katharina Bracher reports about the flourishing ‘academic’ ghostwriting market in Switzerland. Firms like GWriters, Acad Write oder Acadoo offer ‘advice’ for Master and PhD theses writers. Demand is particularly high for law and business theses. A PhD thesis costs roughly CHF 25’000.
A German court has ruled that
das auftragsweise Erstellen von Hochschul-Abschlussarbeiten und Dissertationen zwar gegen die «guten Sitten» verstosse. Es handle sich aber «lediglich um ein rechtlich missbilligtes Gewerbe». Ghostwriting steht damit auf einer Stufe mit der Prostitution: zwar sittenwidrig, aber nicht verboten.
In a Bank of Finland discussion paper, Bill Francis, Iftekhar Hasan and Qiang Wu argue that there is evidence for academic economists to be useful after all. Academics on the board of directors “are valuable advisors and effective monitors.” The authors write in the abstract:
Directors from academia served on the boards of around 40% of S&P 1,500 firms over the 1998-2011 period. … We find that companies with directors from academia are associated with higher performance and this relation is driven by professors without administrative jobs. We also find that academic directors play an important governance role through their advising and monitoring functions. Specifically, our results show that the presence of academic directors is associated with higher acquisition performance, higher number of patents and citations, higher stock price informativeness, lower discretionary accruals, lower CEO compensation, and higher CEO forced turnover-performance sensitivity. Overall, our results provide supportive evidence that academic directors are valuable advisors and effective monitors and that, in general, firms benefit from having academic directors.
In a Politico column, Yannis Palaiologos bitterly complains about the counter productive role that Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs and James Galbraith played in supporting members of the Greek government in the run up to the recent climax of the Greek crisis.