Competition as a substitute for boycott

Don’t like the U.S. News college rankings? Neither do I. But you can’t beat something with nothing. A boycott is fine, but creating a decent ranking system would be better.

The first maxim of politics is that you can’t beat something with nothing.

Boycotting the U.S. News college rankings is a fine idea. But that survey filled a void. Either the colleges themselves or some friendly foundation needs to write a reasonable ranking system, collect the data, and publish the results. It would be nice if that ranking system made at least some attempt to measure value added rather than simply the quality of the incoming students.

As long as the colleges insist that their mission is too sacred to measure, they’re going to continue to be measured by amateurs.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: