International Reputation

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Provost Kent Fuchs has announced formation of the Cornell University Economics Department, which combines strengths in economics from across the university's colleges and schools within one academic unit.

The department combines all economics faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences and all labor economists from the ILR School.

Joint appointments will be held by senior distinguished professors from the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the College of Human Ecology's Department of Policy Analysis and Management.  

"This is an important and exciting new development for Cornell," Fuchs said. "Combining the world-class economists from ILR and Arts and Sciences into a new economics department will bring increased opportunities for collaborative research and enhance the university's already excellent international reputation in economics."

Harry Katz, ILR's Kenneth F. Kahn Dean and Jack Sheinkman Professor, said the department will be able to offer a fuller spectrum of economic perspectives, bringing together ILR's more empirical approach and policy focus and the arts college's more theoretical approach.

"The College of Arts and Sciences and the ILR School have been moving towards this point for a long time," he said. For 15 years, economics courses have been cross-listed and a joint doctoral program has been offered.

Peter Lepage, The Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, noted that "greater visibility for economics at Cornell will mean we'll be better able to attract and retain top faculty and graduate students."

The decision is the result of six years of faculty involvement and recommendations, resulting from numerous committees and task forces.

A group of prominent alumni and economics faculty from outside the university also provided advice about how to further strengthen economics at Cornell. The transition team appointed by the provost includes David Easley, Scarborough Professor of Social Science and the Don Opatrny Chair of the Department of Economics; Francine Blau, Frances Perkins Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Labor Economics; Kevin Hallock, professor of labor economics and director of ILR's Institute for Compensation Studies; and Ted O’Donoghue, professor of economics.

Blau said ILR and Arts and Sciences economics units were particularly suitable for forming the core of the new department because they both have fairly sizable, free-standing groups of economists.

"Other large concentrations of economists on campus are embedded in multidisciplinary units, which would have added to the complexity of bringing in their economists en masse," she said.

According to Hallock, "We have a lot to offer each other, and a lot to learn from each other."

"We come from a position of strength, and this new structure will make us better immediately and going forward," he said.

Easley said the combined department will be able to offer more courses. "We'll be able to continue providing outstanding training while improving research experiences and classroom opportunities for our students."

Princeton University economist Alan Krueger '83, who served on the advisory committee, is enthusiastic about the move. "Cornell has some of the world's best economists distributed throughout the university," he said. "By incorporating some of this talent within the new Economics Department, Cornell will more effectively leverage its resources and strengthen its economics instruction and research."

Easley will serve as the department's first chair for the 2011-2012 academic year. Hallock will serve as associate chair and take over as chair July 1, 2012. The department will report jointly to the deans of the ILR School and the College of Arts and Sciences. For now, faculty will remain in their current offices.

Faculty in the new department include John Abowd, Chris Barrett, Levon Barseghyan, Kaushik Basu, Daniel Benjamin, Jim Berry, Francine Blau, Lawrence Blume, Aaron Bodoh-Creed, George Boyer, John Cawley, Stephen Coate, David Easley, Ronald Ehrenberg, Gary Fields, Robert Frank, Matthew Freedman, Kevin Hallock, George Hay, Yongmiao Hong, Robert Hutchens, George Jakubson, Robert Jarrow, Lawrence Kahn, Ravi Kanbur, Andrew Karolyi, Don Kenkel, Nicholas Kiefer, Claire Lim, Thomas Lyons, Mukul Majumdar, Richard Mansfield, Robert Masson, Karel Mertens, Tapan Mitra, Francesca Molinari, Ted O'Donoghue, Maureen O’Hara, Uri Possen, Eswar Prasad, Victoria Prowse, Assaf Razin, Karl Shell, Robert Smith, Joerg Stoye, Viktor Tsyrennikov, Mike Waldman and Henry Wan.

Affiliated faculty in the department include Talia Bar, Gregory Besharov, Richard Burkhauser, Tom Davis, Mickey Falkson, Peter McClelland, David Sahn, Richard Schuler, Erik Thorbecke, Jaroslav Vanek, Lars Vilhuber and Jennifer Wissink.

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