The Highest Paid Professors in America

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
April 9 2012 4:02 PM

The Highest Paid Professors in America

Massachusetts Hall, Harvard University
Massachusetts Hall, Harvard University

Photograph from Wikimedia Commons.

In a disappointingly noncounterintuitive finding, the Chronicle of Higher Education discovers that the highest-paid full professors in America work at rich and famous Harvard. The top 10 is rounded out by Columbia, the University of Chicago, Stanford, and Princeton. Readers of The Rent Is Too Damn High will note that this actually gives Chicago a substantial edge over its peers. Housing supply is much less constrained in Chicago than in New York, Boston, Palo Alto, or New Jersey, and, consequently, getting paid $197,800 to work at Chicago leaves you better off than making $198,400 at Harvard.

Another boring finding is that public universities pay less than private ones. More interesting is that there seems to be considerably more variance in how schools pay "instructors" than in how they pay tenured professors. The Chronicle's numbers suggest that Princeton is shelling out an average of $76,800 while Harvard is offering just $56,700. All things considered, these are two highly paying schools, but that's an enormous percentage-wise gap for basically comparable institutions in terms of wealth and prestige.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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