GMU Econ Ranking

Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 10:46 pm

From: Donald J Boudreaux
Date: Mon, Jun 9, 2008 at 12:38 PM
Subject: GMU Econ Ranking


For those of you who haven’t yet seen the April 2008 issue of the Southern Economic Journal, I draw your attention to an article that ranks all 129 economics-PhD-granting programs in the United States.  The citation is:

Therese C. Grijalva and Cliffor Nowell, “A Guide to Graduate Study in Economics: Ranking Economics Departments by Fields of Expertise,” Southern Econ. Journal, April 2008, Vol. 74, No. 4, pp. 971-996.

Here’s the abstract:

“Ph.D. programs in economics are ranked overall and by subject field.  The results provide insight into students researching graduate programs in economics in specific subject fields.  Results indicate that (i) differences in overall research productivity measures diminish as a university’s rank declines; (ii) a university ranked highly in a particular subject field may be the result of single, extremely productive faculty member; and (iii) many programs outside the traditional top 20 programs are ranked high in specific subject fields.”

According to this study, GMU Econ now ranks 41 OVERALL among programs in the U.S.  GMU is just behind #40 UNC-Chapel Hill, and above highly regarded programs such as Univ. of Washington (45), Texas A&M (49), Florida State (52), GW (54), U. Pittsburgh (59), Washington University (69), Emory (71), UC-Irvine (72) and VA Tech (75), and West Virginia (104).

When ranked by field (as defined by the classification of the JEL) GMU Econ ranks

– 3rd in Methodology and History of Economic Thought
– 9th in General Economics and Teaching
– 11th in Law and Economics
– 25th in Microeconomics
– 25th in Public Economics
– 39th in Financial Economics [This surprises me, pleasantly.]
– 40th in Mathematical and Quantitative Methods [Another pleasant surprise.]
– 43rd in Economic Systems
– 47th in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics
– 52nd in Economic History [pre-Nye!]
– 55th in Labor and Demographic Economics
– 57th in Industrial Organization
– 66th in Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth [a disappointing ranking]
– 79th in Macroeconomics and monetary policy [no surprise here, but still disappointing]
– 79th in Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
– 92nd in Health, Education, and Welfare
– 99th in International Economics

The key independent variable in this study is faculty publications in scholarly journals (1985-2004), weighted for quality.

CAVEAT: this study gives NO credit to published books (or blogs, of course).  Because we are an especially “book-and-blog friendly” department, I’m confident that, if anything, our true ranking is even higher than is revealed by this study.  Note that Tyler Cowen’s major and most celebrated contributions are in book form (and his NY Times column).  The same is true, at least in part, for Jim Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, Jim Bennett, Pete Boettke, Bryan Caplan, David Levy, Russ Roberts, Charles Rowley, Dick Wagner, and Walter Williams (and his syndicated column).

These findings speak extraordinarily well of you all.  I’m proud — very much so — to be your colleague.  Keep up your great work!