CAS Economics Department Ranked 12th Nationally

Four faculty placed in top one percent in the world

From BU Today
By Amy Laskowski
January 15, 2014


When BU’s economists talk money, people pay attention.

That’s the takeaway from a recent ranking by RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), which last month placed BU’s economics department 12th out of 477 US institutions.

BU fared better than Dartmouth (18), Cornell (21), and Georgetown (24), while the top three spots went to Harvard, MIT, and the University of Chicago.

RePEc, an international clearinghouse made up of hundreds of volunteers in 80 countries, ranks institutions based on research productivity, using factors such as how many papers a program publishes, how often abstracts are read, and how often papers are cited, explains Barton Lipman, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of economics and department chair. “This data is used to rank both individual economists and economics departments,” he says. “We have a number of very highly ranked economists—people who write a lot of important, prominent, highly cited papers—so we end up high in the rankings. In RePEc’s individual rankings, 4 of our faculty are ranked in the top one percent in the world, 14 in the top 5 percent, and 22 (about half the department) in the top 10 percent.”

While Lipman is pleased, he’s careful, he says, not to “overstate the significance or meaning of any one ranking,” adding that “any ranking is going to have its flaws.” Nonetheless, the accolade “does say we have some outstanding, truly world-class, economists here, economists who are recognized by their peers as doing important research and deepening our understanding of how modern economies function—or don’t function.”

This year, the economics department has more than 800 undergraduates and 160 graduate and PhD students.


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