UCLA is heavily investing in building a hotel/conference center, dorms, a music building, an engineering building, and many new medical campus buildings. At the same time, the faculty's size is shrinking and the faculty are aging (see pages 15 and 16). Over at USC, I read that this school has just finished building an interdisciplinary social science building that will be home to many of its rising research centers. How do universities prioritize capital projects? Which projects improve research on campus versus which improve student quality of life? What is the right balance between the two? Can economists be useful in helping to decide this?
At a time when UCLA is ranked higher than USC in football, is USC closing the nerd gap? Which matters more in the formula for being a great university?