Sunday, October 3, 2010

On the Pulpit, Rabbis Earn More Than Christian Clergy

Normally, Corrections avoids old articles.  However, Jewish Daily Forward article "On the Pulpit, Rabbis Earn More Than Christian Clergy" (September 15th, 2010) wonders aloud why rabbis are paid, on average, more than christian clergy. It comes to no firm conclusions. Indeed, Corrections spent some time thinking on the curious problem: Catholics and Protestants appear to be paid between $25,000 and $40,000, while Reform and Conservative Rabbis appear to be paid between $137,000 and $147,000. A rather large gap.

Corrections came to the weak conclusion that the story was about opportunity cost and relative wealth status. However, the same publication came out, two weeks later, with the article "Rabbi Searches Are Tough, but Are They Illegal?" (September 29th, 2010). This article mentions nothing about pay, and merely describes the theological implications of a cartel of Rabbis:
The RA requires synagogues to enroll exclusively in its search process, filters the selection of candidates the congregations may interview, and prohibits candidates and congregations from finding each other directly. Any Conservative rabbi who seeks a pulpit outside the RA’s centralized process, and any congregation that interviews candidates from other movements, will be penalized.
It bespeaks either a deep ignorance of economics or a willing deception of their readers that the Forward did not connect the two. To note that Rabbis have a firm cartel with punitive powers on the one hand, then wonder why Rabbis are paid so much on the other is ludicrous.

Cartels artificially limit supply to raise prices. It utterly clear to Corrections that the Rabbinical Assembly is a cartel of Rabbis that artificially constricts supply and raises wages. The Rabbinical Assembly's cartel also possibly increases quality above what the market would demand to further drive up price, though there is no evidence for this either way (merely a likely possibility). A depiction of what the Rabbinical Assembly is practicing may be found graphically below (click to enlarge).

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