Uhlig Fired as JPE Editor

This will be a page to collect links to the firing of Professor Harald Uhlig as Editor of the Journal of Political Economy. I will not try to be comprehensive. The firing was last Friday, and details are still fuzzy, and reaction is just now starting to appear.

About 500 economists, loosely defined (it includes PhD students and maybe is mostly PhD students) signed a petition asking the JPE to fire Uhlig as editor. The list of signatories was secret, but it was soon leaked.

The Journal of Political Economy says:

The Advisory Board of the Journal of Political Economy has placed Harald Uhlig on leave from his role as editor of the Journal pending a determination of the Board as to whether it would be appropriate for him to continue in that role given recent accusations of discriminatory conduct in a University classroom setting.
Journal of Political Economy Advisory Board
Robert Shimer
Lars Peter Hansen
Steve Levitt
Philip J. Reny

June 22. UHLIG WINS!

The University has completed a review of claims that a faculty member engaged in discriminatory conduct on the basis of race in a University classroom. The review concluded that at this time there is not a basis for a further investigation or disciplinary proceeding. The University’s policy on harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct is posted here. In light of this outcome, the Journal of Political Economy has returned the faculty member to his role as journal editor.

University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer is looking good. I recently learned how his predecessor Hugo Sonnenschein, a good economist (to my shame) and a nice guy did worse. See how he responded in 1998 to a demand from Mayor Richie Daley of Chicago that he fire John Lott, a much more abrasive person then Harald Uhlig who is the bete noire of the gun control crowd. Both Presidents were basically mathematicians, but Sonnenschein’s work was more on smooth functions and Zimmer’s was on ergodicity, so maybe he had a better idea that what goes around comes around. History is going to look a lot more kindly on Mr. Zimmer, I think.

June 10. NYTimes. Economics, Dominated by White Men, Is Roiled by Black Lives Matter
The editor of a top academic journal is facing calls to resign after criticizing protesters as “flat earthers” for wanting to defund the police.

June 11. Stanford Prof. Ken Judd at EJMR. First big name to weigh in?

When you attack someone, carefully pick your points. One comment has been that Uhlig told Asian students they need to be better at speaking English. We are not told the manner in which he expressed that recommendation, however I have often made the same comment to Asian students of mine….Perhaps Harald did not make the point in the most polite manner, but he was right about the need to know English.

June 11. Prof. Robert Shimer, Chairman of Chicago Econ. To my colleagues in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics

“never forget that our job titles mean that we are representatives of the University of Chicago and the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics. To represent what we all aspire for that community to be, it is critical that we always maintain a professional demeanor and a high standard of discourse, and are always respectful of those who disagree with us.

Finally, I urge each of us to remember that with the right to free speech comes responsibilities. What we write affects public policy. What we write and how we write it affects how scholars and the broader public view us. It also affects how people view our colleagues, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, and the broader community of economists at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, as well as our ability to attract the best scholars to our department. Before we engage in any platform, be it social media or another, we might pause to consider whether we have presented our ideas in the best possible manner to convey our point and to reinforce the ideals of our community of scholars.”

That’s three times he says, “Kenneth C. Griffin” (for a price of about $40 million per mention, if this is the full value provided)

June 12. Chicago Tribune. U. of C. economist facing criticism for Black Lives Matter tweets is now under review for claims of ‘discriminatory conduct’ in classroom by ELYSSA CHERNEY.

Ba’s post tagged Uhlig and said, “I sat in your class in Winter 2014: (1) You talked about scheduling a class on MLK Day (2) You made fun of Dr. King and people honoring him (3) You sarcastically asked me in front of everyone whether I was offended.”…
“The University of Chicago does not tolerate intimidating, hostile or offensive discriminatory behavior that targets groups or individuals, and we take seriously any matter that interferes with educational program participation,” Manier said in an email. “Such behavior is in direct contradiction to the University’s values that everyone must have the opportunity to participate fully in an open and questioning environment.”

June 12 Twitter thread.

I cannot be the only one who reads Ken Griffin department of economics and thinks sold to the highest bidder.
I for one welcome our new Hedge Fund Managing overlords.

June 12. Poor “professor in strudel”. I really should learn German some day. Der Professor im Strudel von „Black Lives Matter“
Einige Kollegen in Amerika werfen dem deutschen Ökonomen Harald Uhlig, der in Chicago lehrt, Rassismus vor – und wollen ihn degradieren. Von Winand von Petersdorff

June 13. EJMR.

I heard Ken Griffin got personally involved. Is it true?

June 14.

My friend Bernice’s dad & my friend & classmate Angela’s uncle was brutally murdered on April 4,1968 at 6:01pm at the Lorraine Motel. Bernice & Angela were 5 & 4 years old. He was a protester. His name was Martin Luther King, Jr.

Michgan State Prof. Lisa Cook Twitter thread on how well connected she is.

June 15. Chicago/Hoover Prof John Cochrane. Blog. Long and good. The cancel culture twitter mob comes to economics.

June 16. Prof. Ted Snyder, Yale.

In the wake of attacks on Harald Uhlig @haralduhlig for exercising his First Amendment rights by Paul Krugman @pualkrugman and others, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has terminated its contract with Uhlig because his views are not compatible with its “commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

June 16. Anonymous Econolist Twitter account. Nicely phrased:

See. Harald Uhlig isn’t being punished for his politics. He’s being punished because he wasn’t sufficiently respectful to a political protest movement. Very different. This isn’t a political litmus test.

June 16. EJMR.

I remember hearing that when a various polls of reporters found that they were overwhelmingly Democrats, the claim was that it did not bias their professional writings. So are academic journal editors more susceptible to their personal preferences when the stakes are even lower?

June 17. Welt. Will man Sie mundtot machen, Herr Uhlig? by
Von Sebastian Beug. I don’t mind it being in German, but it’s behind a paywall. It’s an interview with Prof. Uhlig, who should post it in English and not behind a paywall on his website.

Sprachpolizei is a great word. Sprechenpolizei sounds better in English, though. Would it work in German?

June 18. FPP (Chile) Axel Kaiser. La nueva revolución cultural.

June 22. New York Sun. If Fear Can Strike At University of Chicago, Imagine The Rest of Academia
By IRA STOLL. David Brooks is a Trustee of the University of Chicago. Odd. Journalists get more respect than they did 20 years ago, which is a very bad thing, though Brooks is probably more respectable than most trustees of universities. Interesting list, actually. Would have been relevant if Chicago hadn’t reversed itself in time. Booth is there, and Kenneth C. Griffin, and Sandy Grossman, Tom J. Pritzker, Andrew M. Rosenfield. Way too many, of course, showing that it’s an honorary position with no real power except to call in favors once in a while maybe and get a single prof. fired or something like that if the President doesn’t care much either way.

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