Letter From the Chair 2012-2013

Author: Richard Jensen


This past year was an exceptional one for the new era of economics at Notre Dame.

Our faculty experienced amazing growth, with five new hires, including Tim Fuerst, the William and Dorothy O’Neill Professor of Economics.

Great things continue to happen in the research and teaching missions of the department. Joe Kaboski, the David F. and Erin M. Seng Foundation Associate Professor of Economics, won the ultra-prestigious Frisch Medal, awarded by the Econometric Society biennially for the best article published in the last five years in the No. 2 ranked journal Econometrica. In keeping with our department’s focus on policy-relevant research, this article was a study of the effectiveness of microfinance, which is widely used to fight poverty in developing countries.

As active researchers, our faculty continue to bring to the classroom and to conversations with our students both the latest knowledge and a passion for inquiry. This approach has once again resulted in a prestigious teaching award: Last year, Dan Hungerman became the third member of our faculty to win the Notre Dame Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

A truly exciting development in undergraduate education is the creation of the new international economics major, designed to combine the rigorous training of economics with linguistic and cultural fluency in the Romance languages. The intent is to provide students with expertise that will make them highly competitive in their search for international careers in the public or private sector. Course offerings begin this spring semester, and plans are underway to expand the major to include Arabic and East Asian languages and cultures.

We are proud to report that—despite the sluggish economic recovery and continuing high unemployment—100 percent of all our economics majors graduating in 2011 (the most recent data available) successfully found employment or continued into graduate education, according to the Career Center; their average starting salary was just over $58,000.

For the second consecutive year, the placement record of graduates from our new Ph.D. program was also 100 percent. In fact, two students from the third incoming class finished their doctorates one year early and obtained excellent jobs, including one at the International Monetary Fund.

Finally, we want to know who you are and what you are doing, no matter when you graduated, whether you were one of our majors or a graduate student. We plan to add a section to our website that features our graduates and their current employment and accomplishments. For prospective majors, this will provide excellent examples of what one can do with an economics degree. It will also allow you to keep track of your friends and former classmates. Please click the new “Tell Us Your News” button.

The future of economics at Notre Dame continues to look bright.

Richard Jensen


Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor and Chairperson

Department of Economics