03 December 2009

More on the California "brain drain"

Capitol Weekly has a piece on expected student brain drain. In 2007-08, for the first time ever, there were more California students going out of state for college than there were out-of-state students coming to California for the same purpose. The trend will only get steeper with the recent hikes in tuition and fees accompanied by enrollment cuts at UC and CSU.

Any similar trend among the faculty is still perhaps too small to detect. But the writing is on the wall. People used to come to the University of California, in spite of salaries historically lagging 10% to 15% behind those at comparable institutions, because of its public mission, the tradition of faculty governance, its outstanding retirement system, and the endless sunshine. If recent events are a signs of things to come, all that will be left is the sunshine. And if we allow global warming to do its work, there will be palm trees growing in Toronto at some point, so even that comparative advantage will be gone.


  1. I am on the UC faculty and I can tell you that many UC professors, especially junior faculty, are updating their academic resumes and looking for greener pastures outside of California. The brain drain you predict will not happen this year, as there are few jobs in academia at this time. However, in 12-24 months many unfilled jobs will be posted and some of those will be offered to UC faculty.

  2. I am affiliated with UC and know that there is much "hallway talk" about leaving among the faculty. The sentiment is that the state does not care about higher education and that career options at universities in other states are more promising.

    UC faculty are exceptional. I fear that the citizens of California are going to learn too late that their kids' professors truly are free agents, capable of moving on.

  3. Would like to see a 2012 update on this topic. I am engineer with 30+ years experience in CA aerospace industry and am planning to move to Texas, taking my brain with me. Now that CA is a one-party state and the inmates are running the anti-business asylum, it won't be long before taxes will go through the roof to pay for this continuing insanity. Taxes are essentially either income or corporate taxes. But to receive revenues from income taxes you have to have jobs, and to have jobs you have to have businesses (not counting government employees). So, if you chase businesses out of the state you are essentially chasing jobs out of the state, lowering the income tax base and leaving you with no choice but to raise rates on those who remain. It is an endless, vicious death spiral.