February 10, 2004 • Volume 12 Number 10

Economics Department Makes the US Top 25

Faculty researchers' contributions to elite journals rank high

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

The Boston College Economics Department has been ranked one of the top 25 in the United States in a recently published survey of the leading faculties in the field.

The rankings, which rated BC's economics faculty as No. 24 among American universities, appeared in the December issue of the Journal of the European Economic Association. Compiled by French economists Pierre-Phillipe Combes and Laurent Linnemer, the rankings are based on the number of contributions by faculty researchers to the field's elite professional journals.

A similar study in 1998 ranked Boston College 35th among US economics departments.

Economics chairman Prof. Marvin Kraus said the strong ratings have a two-fold benefit. "Graduate students pay a lot of attention to these ratings in terms of determining where to do their doctoral work," he said.

"And, when it comes to hiring, prospective faculty members are sensitive to these rankings in deciding what institution to become a part of," Kraus said.

In addition to the department's highest-ever overall rating, several University faculty members were ranked among the top economists in the world in terms of research published in prestigious professional journals.

Prof. Arthur Lewbel was listed in the survey's No. 30 position, Prof. Uzi Segal was No. 98 and Prof. Peter Ireland was No. 109.

Three other BC faculty members, professors Richard Arnott, Peter Gottschalk and James Anderson, were ranked among the top 500 economists worldwide, according to the journal listing.

"I don't think people had recognized just how much the Boston College Economics Department had improved in such a short period of time," said Lewbel. "This will certainly open some eyes."

Lewbel was pleased by his own ranking, but said it was the significant number of his colleagues rated in the survey that speaks best for the level of economics scholarship and research at the University. "The department needs to keep doing just what it's doing in this area."

Ireland says the University's high rating marks result from successfully mixing a number of bright new scholars into the department's traditional academic strength.

"On that list of top economists are three long-time BC faculty members - Richard Arnott, Peter Gottschalk and especially Jim Anderson - who have all made tremendous contributions to the University and to our students over the years," Ireland said. "Simply put, these are the people who really deserve credit for paving the way for our more recent successes.

"It goes without saying that the addition of absolutely top-notch scholars like Arthur Lewbel and Uzi Segal - both of whom arrived in the past five years or so - has really worked to raise the intensity level within the department and raise the school's profile in the worldwide academic community," Ireland said.

Segal said, "As great as these rankings are, the real story in the Economics Department is that in the last few years, we were able to hire some very good young economists. If some of them keep going the way they do now, we'll look even better in the future."

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