Letter From the Chair, Fall 2009

Author: Economics News

Richard Jensen

Given the University's interest in issues related to social justice, we focus on research relevant to problems faced by humanity. Already, our faculty has generated millions of dollars in external funding for study in areas such as poverty, health care, and development. We understand that excellence in this research is the key to having an impact on policy, something exemplified by the work of Schaefer Professor Chris Waller, one of the roughly 40 economists who attend Federal Open Market Committee meetings where U.S. monetary policy is made. We began with a faculty of six but have grown to 20, including Keough-Hesburgh Professor Bill Evans and DeCrane Professor Nelson Mark (see the complete faculty directory).

In the classroom, we have initiated changes to increase the analytical and quantitative rigor of our major to match those at the other Top 20 universities. For instance, all majors now take one course in econometrics. We have also expanded the elective options, offering courses on many topics of current interest. And our students are responding, as demonstrated by the dramatic increase in the number of economics majors over the last several years.

Recent graduates now attend some of the best economics doctoral programs in the country, including Yale, Cornell, Brown, and Northwestern. Other former students who have benefitted from the enhanced rigor of our major work at prestigious firms—e.g., Google, McKinsey, Boston Consulting, and Bank of America—and non-profits such as the Urban Institute. Of course, many students still go on to the best law schools and other professional programs.

In light of all this, it's easy to see why we believe the future of economics at Notre Dame is very bright.

Richard Jensen

Professor and Chair
Department of Economics and Econometrics