Extrusion of a mixture of an ester-substituted diaryl carbonate, such as bis(methyl salicyl) carbonate, a dihydroxy aromatic compound such as bisphenol A and a transesterification catalyst such as tetrabutylphosphonium acetate (TBPA) affords polycarbonate having a weight average molecular weight of greater than 20,000 daltons. The extruder is equipped with one or more vacuum vents to remove by-product ester-substituted phenol. Similarly, a precursor polycarbonate having ester-substituted phenoxy endgroups, for example methyl salicyl endgroups, when subjected to extrusion affords a polycarbonate having a significantly increased molecular weight relative to the precursor polycarbonate. The reaction to form a higher molecular weight polycarbonate may be catalyzed by residual transesterification catalyst present in the precursor polycarbonate, or by a combination of any residual catalyst and an additional catalyst such as TBPA introduced in the extrusion step. Fries rearrangement products are not observed in the product polycarbonates.