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CAS Economics Department Ranked 12th Nationally

Four faculty placed in top one percent in the world

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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.

8 Comments
Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

8 Comments on CAS Economics Department Ranked 12th Nationally

  • anonymous on 01.15.2014 at 8:07 am

    No offense to the BU econ department, but the departments at the top of this list are all neoliberal, and are known to propound such economic “solutions” as water privatization and wage slavery. They have contributed to a cult of ideology that favors the very, very rich. Again, I’m sure the BU econ dept. is top notch, but by what criteria? If you look at that list, only one heterodox program nationally breaks the top 30: Michigan State. The rest are at the bottom. New School is 119! And UMass Amherst, literally a world-renowned heterodox institution with students coming from all over the world to study their political economy courses and Marxian economics, isn’t even on the list.

    • Another BU econ student on 01.15.2014 at 2:09 pm

      The rankings are based on how many papers are published out of a department and how many times those papers are cited by other authors. This is only one way to rank institutions, but it does not contain any valuation of the content taught in the classroom or the demographics of the student body. The heterodox schools don’t rank well simply because the papers that come out of these institutions are not as highly cited, theres no subjective value judgement here, just data.

      The fact that this is simply one ranking of many is addressed in the quote that reminds us “not to overstate the significance or meaning of any one ranking”. But I do think it speaks to the quality of the faculty in the department.

      • Zach on 01.20.2014 at 7:50 am

        Going further, though, the rankings speak much more to dominant economic theory throughout the West and its allies and client states (to use the same term as anonymous, neoliberalism).

  • BU econ student on 01.15.2014 at 12:23 pm

    @anonymous Not so sure I’d label Harvard or MIT as “neoliberal.” Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs—two highly popular economists and graduates of MIT and Harvard, respectively—are often referred to as New Keynesians, hardly what one would categorize as neoliberal, quite the opposite in fact.

  • Ron Reiner on 01.15.2014 at 5:35 pm

    Fantastic…My grandson Garrett is a student there and doing fantastic. Just returned from a semester in China. Keep up the good work..

  • Steve on 01.15.2014 at 5:59 pm

    If the title of an article mentions “Four faculty placed in top one percent in the world”, readers are expecting 4 names listed in this article.

    • Bart Lipman on 01.16.2014 at 11:13 am

      A good point. In alphabetical order, the four are Larry Epstein, Robert King, Larry Kotlikoff, and Pierre Perron. All are actually in something like the top 0.5 percent.

  • […] CAS Economics Department Ranked 12th Nationally “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. Read more on BU Today […]

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