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Best economics department...

jacknjilljacknjill 828 replies43 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 871 Member
edited November 2005 in College Search & Selection
I have yet to find any rankings for undergrad economics programs. Can you guys help me out? I've asked a lot of people but they dont know, so Im guessing that there are not rankings, but does any one have a couple of ideas atleast? The only thing that comes to my mind when someone says economics is University of Chicago, but thats all I know, help?
edited November 2005
36 replies
Post edited by jacknjill on
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Replies to: Best economics department...

  • UntiltedUntilted 1933 replies47 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,980 Senior Member
    NOT in order.............

    Chicago
    Northwestern
    MIT, Stanford
    All the Ivy league Universities
    Top Lacs such as Williams and Amherst
    Duke
    UC-Berkeley, University of Virginia, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
    Other TOP liberal-arts-focused universities
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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6315 replies275 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,590 Senior Member
    from Gourman Report undergrad
    MIT
    Chicago
    Stanford
    Princeton
    Harvard
    Yale
    U Minnesota
    U Penn
    U Wisc Madison
    UC Brekeley
    Northwestern
    U Rochester
    Columbia
    UCLA
    U Michigan Ann Arbor
    Johns Hopkins
    Carnegie Mellon
    Brown
    UC San Diego
    Duke
    Cornell
    NYU
    UVA
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  • Sam LeeSam Lee 9273 replies176 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,449 Senior Member
    US News 2006 Ranking (ranked in 2005)
    1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 5.0
    University of Chicago 5.0
    3. Harvard University (MA) 4.9
    Princeton University (NJ) 4.9
    Stanford University (CA) 4.9
    University of California–Berkeley 4.9
    7. Yale University (CT) 4.8
    8. Northwestern University (IL) 4.6
    9. University of Pennsylvania 4.5
    10. University of California–San Diego 4.3
    11. Columbia University (NY) 4.2
    University of California–Los Angeles 4.2
    University of Michigan–Ann Arbor 4.2
    University of Wisconsin–Madison 4.2
    15. New York University 4.1
    University of Minnesota–Twin Cities 4.1
    17. California Institute of Technology 4.0
    Cornell University (NY) 4.0
    19. University of Rochester (NY) 3.9
    20. Carnegie Mellon University (PA) 3.8
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  • interesteddadinteresteddad 23879 replies298 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    There is no such thing as undergrad department rankings.

    The Gourman Report has been thoroughly discredited by the academic community, to the point where warning stickers are placed in the book in college libraries noting that Gourman has consistently refused to explain his "methodology".

    The USNEWS ranking is for grad school programs. I have a list of the percentage of Economics PhDs awarded per graduate of all undergrad schools over the last ten years, which is interesting and may identify schools that you might want to investigate further to see if they match your interests, but it is by no means a comprehensive "ranking". I'll post it if you like.

    Economics is a "bread and butter" department at most good colleges and universities -- often one of the three largest departments on campus. Econ students (and professors) have many varied interests. Some have an eye on a business career and aim towards MBA programs. Others have a more academic interest and aim towards PhDs. Still others have a public policy interest -- for example those interested in issued of third-world globalization may major in economics.

    Because there are so many strong econ departments, I would recommend beginning your search with "big picture" stuff like size, location, campus culture and, then move on to the narrow such as the Econ department. Don't let the trees obscure your view of the forest. I say that even though my daughter's school (which I like to recommend) produces more future Econ PhDs per grad than any other college or university by a mile (more than double the rate of the #2 school). But, that in and of itself would be a poor reason to choose the school.
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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6315 replies275 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,590 Senior Member
    On page 82 of Baccalaureate Origins of Doctoral Recipients there is a ranked list for Economics 1986-1995 (this list is for doctoral-degree-granting institutions, but it excludes public universities):

    Harvard
    Yale
    U Penn
    Princeton
    U Chicago
    MIT
    Cornell
    Georgetown
    Stanford
    Northwestern
    George Washington
    Duke
    Brandeis
    Brigham Young
    Brown
    Boston U
    Columbia
    U Notre Dame
    American U
    Johns Hopkins
    NYU
    Washington U
    Boston C
    Dartmouth
    Fordham

    All of the private colleges listed by Gourman are also in the Baccalaureate Origins of PhDs list except U of R and CMU. I would say that is pretty good confirmation of the Gourman Report considering that the Baccalaureate Origins list is for private universities only.

    I think there is some comment on the methods Gourman used in the beginning of his book. I will check.

    Whatever the methods he used, the results are pretty accurate. I have found a couple of examples where Gourman had relatively unknown colleges properly ranked in a high position such as U Delaware for ChemE and Kenyon for English. This told me that Gourman did his homework.

    Some LAC-lovers get tweeked by Gourman because Gourman downplayed them in his rankings. Private-college lovers get tweeked because Gourman favored publics. But the info is still useful and accurate although incomplete because of the omission of LACs. So, for balance, I consult Rugg's Recommendations which seems to do just the opposite, it favors LACs.

    In this same book, there is a separate list in the Baccalureate Origins for LACs 1986-1995 with Swarthmore at the top with 54 econ PhDs (Williams was second with 37). This is less than half of the 113 PhDs from Harvard College but Harvard College has 5 times as many students as Swarthmore. Bachelors grads from tiny Swartmore eventually earned just as many PhDs as Princeton and U Chicago grads.
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  • ecapeecape 1024 replies165 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,189 Senior Member
    Is it possible people who go to big-name universities for undergrad are more interested in going straight into the workforce after graduation or getting MBAs as opposed to PhDs than are people who go to LACs? I wouldn't be surprised..
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  • interesteddadinteresteddad 23879 replies298 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    The reason that Gourman is rejected by the academic community is that he has not released his methodology and that he draws distinctions to the decimal place in his rankings that are far beyond the resolution of any statistical measure.

    Here's an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

    http://chronicle.com/free/v44/i11/11a00101.htm

    Here's the per capita Econ PhD production over the most recent 10 year period followed by the data for raw totals of Econ PhDs. In both cases, the number immediately before the college name is the total number of graduates over a ten year period, offset five years earlier than the PhD period. Of course, this data does not capture the large number of Econ majors who end up in a business/MBA career path. For example, Amherst produces fewer Econ PhDs relative to other LACs, but it is known to produce a lot of MBAs. So, in that sense, this list is not only a partial measure of Econ departments, but also a measure of where the students at a school fall on the academic career versus pre-professional career continuum. I think you can conclude that high PhD producers have solid Econ departments, but you can't necessarily conclude that lower PhD producers don't.

    Number of PhDs per 1000 grads

    Academic field: Economics

    PhDs and Doctoral Degrees: ten years (1994 to 2003) from NSF database
    Number of Undergraduates: ten years (1989 to 1998) from IPEDS database
    Formula: Total PhDs divided by Total Grads, multiplied by 1000

    Note: Does not include colleges with less than 1000 graduates over the ten year period

    1 3657 Swarthmore College 16
    2 3229 Grinnell College 7
    1 5082 Williams College 7
    2 4561 Carleton College 7
    3 17855 Harvard University 6
    4 1167 Agnes Scott College 6
    5 11348 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 5
    6 8270 University of Chicago 5
    7 12941 Yale University 5
    8 2059 California Institute of Technology 5
    9 11101 Princeton University 5
    10 3945 Macalester College 5
    11 16662 Stanford University 4
    12 3578 Pomona College 4
    13 7067 Oberlin College 4
    14 5840 Wellesley College 4
    15 4917 Trinity University 4
    16 3740 Bowdoin College 3
    17 2410 Earlham College 3
    18 2763 Berea College 3
    19 4179 Amherst College 3
    20 1753 Wabash College 3
    21 2106 Bard College 3
    22 1061 Rocky Mountain College 3
    23 2495 Coe College 3
    24 7081 Wesleyan University 3
    25 12784 College of William and Mary 3
    26 4597 Colby College 3
    27 13622 Columbia University in the City of New York 3
    28 1954 Hillsdale College 3
    29 4361 Franklin and Marshall College 3


    Here's the same data, for the top raw PhD producers. This list is more useful when looking at large state universities:

    1 17855 Harvard University 115
    2 56363 University of California-Berkeley 104
    1 16662 Stanford University 70
    2 33736 Cornell University, All Campuses 67
    3 12941 Yale University 63
    4 25853 University of Pennsylvania 63
    5 58176 University of Wisconsin-Madison 63
    6 53612 University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 62
    7 11348 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 58
    8 3657 Swarthmore College 57
    9 11101 Princeton University 53
    10 51689 University of Maryland at College Park 46
    11 57165 Brigham Young University, Main Campus 42
    12 8270 University of Chicago 41
    13 38488 University of California-Davis 41
    14 61136 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 40
    15 67393 Michigan State University 39
    16 73365 University of Texas at Austin 39
    17 15251 Georgetown University 37
    18 29049 University of Virginia, Main Campus 36
    19 68093 Texas A&M University Main Campus 36
    20 5082 Williams College 35
    21 13622 Columbia University in the City of New York 35
    22 39705 University of Massachusetts at Amherst 35
    23 12784 College of William and Mary 34
    24 19770 Northwestern Univ 34
    25 34763 Miami University, All Campuses 34
    26 41410 University of Colorado at Boulder 34
    27 54970 University of California-Los Angeles 34
    28 57978 University of Florida 33
    29 4561 Carleton College 31
    30 19161 University of Notre Dame 31
    31 30559 University of California-San Diego 31
    32 35755 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 31
    33 79507 Pennsylvania State U, Main Campus 31
    34 52518 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities 30
    35 14669 Brown University 29
    36 15531 Duke University 29
    37 34586 Boston University 29
    38 7067 Oberlin College 28
    39 69239 Ohio State University, Main Campus 28
    40 32432 Colorado State University 27
    41 51040 Indiana University at Bloomington 27
    42 13887 Washington University 25
    43 14485 George Washington University 25
    44 21761 University of California-Santa Cruz 25
    45 51837 Rutgers the State Univ of NJ New Brunswick 25
    46 3229 Grinnell College 24
    47 5840 Wellesley College 22
    48 33232 University of Kansas, Main Campus 22
    49 10684 Dartmouth College 21
    50 12139 American University 21
    51 30609 University of Delaware 21
    52 39182 University of California-Santa Barbara 21
    53 45641 University of Georgia 21
    54 53192 Purdue University, Main Campus 21
    55 28839 University of Nebraska at Lincoln 20
    56 30099 New York University 20
    57 34660 University of Missouri, Columbia 20
    58 61290 University of Washington - Seattle 20
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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6315 replies275 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,590 Senior Member
    The article in the Chronicle explains somewhat how Gourman gets his rankings. I think it is incorrect to say that Gourman Report was "rejected by the academic community" based on this article. The article quotes critics and supporters both. The biggest complaint was that Gourman underrates LACs (which I think is true), probably because research focus is one of his ten criteria. The article is a criticism of Gourman's lack of openness about his methods but, as someone in the the article points out, you do not have to know how something works to know simply that it DOES work.

    All but two of the colleges in Gourman's list also appear in the NRC list of top raw PhD producers. The correlation between the Gourman ranking and the NRC PhD production ranking is +.52, statistically significant and moderately high. This is further validation of the Gourman rankings.

    I concede that the Gourman book underrates LACs but it is still useful as a ranking of undergrad research universities.
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  • interesteddadinteresteddad 23879 replies298 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    >> I think it is incorrect to say that Gourman Report was "rejected by the academic community"

    Do a search. Read the warnings about the book's integrity by college librarians.

    Here is one quote from critic David Webster, “The most remarkable of these ratings
    occurred in Gourman’s combined rating of
    foreign and American medical schools, where
    ninety-nine schools in a row are listed, from 4.98
    to 4.00, with no ties and no skipped integers.”

    Gourman has also rated departments that don't exist.
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  • meestasimeestasi 1098 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,116 Senior Member
    Sorry for interupting this spirited debate. But you guys are debating a moot point about "rankings." I'm sure both of you believe that rankings should not be the single, determining factor for any college decision (or for that matter even a very high factor). Numbers can only mean so much. Jacknjill really should go visit any colleges that he is intersted in, and sit in on a few economics classes. Also, the rankings should really serve as a preliminary guide or starting point in the search for "good colleges." I'm pretty sure that even though a college can produce a lot of Ph. Ds and MBAs, that it doesn't mean that the teaching is any better than anywhere else, or that the specific department will be any better than a college that produces less Ph. Ds. It quality, not quantity, that's something that most rankings seem to leave out.
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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6315 replies275 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,590 Senior Member
    interesteddad-
    If the Gourman report results are essentially correct then the scaling is irrelevant. When I look at Gourman's lists for areas with which I have some familiarity, I can see that they are roughly in the right order. That's good enough to get ideas for a college search. I don't care if number 21 should actually be number 25 or that they are only separated by a tenth. I have studied some of the Gourman rankings in depth and found them to be related to other measures of quality such as the size of the department relative to the size of the college and also related to measures of selectivity and degree production. So there is some cross-validation for the rankings. Why get hung up on the scaling when the rankings are evidently valid? So far, I have not heard or read anybody saying the rankings are not valid. And, as I said, Gourman gets some things right that are not common knowledge.
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  • Sam LeeSam Lee 9273 replies176 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,449 Senior Member
    Is it possible people who go to big-name universities for undergrad are more interested in going straight into the workforce after graduation or getting MBAs as opposed to PhDs than are people who go to LACs? I wouldn't be surprised..

    I second that totally. Seriously, I bet LACs have good numbers in that survey in just about ANY field, not just econ. Funny thing is the top consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG, Bain.. don't seem to recruit actively in LACs (except Williams and to a lesser extent, Amherst).

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=108904
    If Swarthmore is so great in econ, why isn't it on the recruiting list of top consulting firms?
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  • DRabDRab 6047 replies57 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,104 Senior Member
    Is it possible people who go to big-name universities for undergrad are more interested in going straight into the workforce after graduation or getting MBAs as opposed to PhDs than are people who go to LACs? I wouldn't be surprised..

    It's possible, but why would this be more the case there than at an LAC, or at a top private school?
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  • Sam LeeSam Lee 9273 replies176 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,449 Senior Member
    I chose Northwestern over Carleton precisely because almost no one had heard of Carleton in my hometown (Hong Kong). I picked it for practical reason, assuming I would look for a job during my senior year (or after graduation). If I were thinking of pursuing graduate study, I might have chosen Carleton (I did like close-knit environment with professors easily becoming your friends..etc) since I could take care of the name issue by going to grad schools like Stanford. I bet if you do a survey for incoming freshmen about their future plan, greater % in LACs would say they may go to grad schools.
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  • bball87bball87 2402 replies127 discussions- Posts: 2,529 Senior Member
    sam lee, so u went to NW, where did u go to grad school?
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