As academic departments go, ours is quite young. The last two decades have been marked by substantial growth.
The department has its origins in 2003. Up until that time, economics at Notre Dame was mostly focused on qualitative work and emphasized heterodox theories. In response to a growing demand for rigorous, quantitative work and a mainstream graduate program, Notre Dame established the Department of Economics and Econometrics in July 2003. At its inception, the department only had six full-time faculty members and no Ph.D. program. The undergraduate economics major was managed jointly by the new department along with the Department of Economics and Policy Studies, which housed many of the economists doing heterodox work.
Under the leadership of Richard Jensen, who served as chair from 2003 through 2014, the new department flourished. In 2006, a new, mainstream Ph.D. program was launched— the first graduates of which defended dissertations and placed five years later in 2011. The undergraduate major grew, and the department successfully attracted many new faculty members. In 2010, the Department of Economics and Econometrics was renamed the Department of Economics, the department that exists today. There were 20 full-time faculty and about 400 undergraduate majors at the time, up from fewer than 250 at the department's inception.
The 2010s were another period of rapid growth and improvement. William Evans picked up the baton from Richard Jensen in 2014, serving as chairperson until 2020. During that period, faculty continued to grow, the department ascended in various research rankings, and the number of undergraduate and graduate students reached new heights.
Eric Sims became chairperson in July 2020. At present, the department has 51 full-time, regular faculty, including 39 tenured or tenure-track professors, seven teaching professors or professors of the practice, and five research faculty. The department has more than 800 total undergraduate majors, more than 40 Ph.D. students, four full-time staff members, and works closely and collaboratively with two innovative research centers — the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) and the Building Inclusive Growth (BIG) Lab.
The department's history informs and influences who we are today. We are a vibrant intellectual community with faculty who are research-active and dedicated teachers. We are committed to providing a world-class education to both undergraduate and graduate students. And we work intentionally to foster and cultivate an environment that is welcoming, inclusive, and supports and sustains Notre Dame's unique Catholic mission.