Can you please elaborate on these two tendencies separately? The quotation assumes that your PhD alma mater differs from the university where you first taught. First, why less prestigious than PhD alma mater? Second, why less prestigious than the university of the first teaching position?
In 2005, thanks largely to his field experiments, List was offered a tenured professor position at the University of Chicago, perhaps the most storied economics program in the world. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It is a nearly inexorable law of academia that when a professor lands a tenured job, he does so at an institution less prestigious than the one where he began teaching, and also less prestigious than where he received his Ph.D. John List, meanwhile, was like a salmon who swam downstream to spawn, into the open water. Back in Wisconsin, his family was unimpressed. “They wonder why I’ve failed so miserably,” he says, “why I’m not still in Orlando, where the weather is really great, instead of Chicago, where the crime is really high.”
Dubner, Levitt. SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance (2009). P 118.