Economics Department Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. South

Posted: December 14, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Amanda Adolph

George Mason’s Department of Economics is the finest in the South. That’s the finding of a just-published study that assesses faculty scholarship productivity. The University of Maryland, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Georgia round out the top five. The survey, published in the Journal of Applied Economic Letters, attempts to eliminate biases endemic in other surveys of economics programs, including biases toward theoretical research over applied economics. This scholarly peer-reviewed journal specializes in applied quantitative studies.

“This survey confirms what we have all known for a long time,” says Don Boudreaux, chair of the department. “Our faculty in the Economics Department has earned immense respect, both nationally and internationally. This respect grows both from my colleagues’ pioneering scholarship and from their success at using economics in ways that are relevant for policy makers.”

The survey employs a quantity-based productivity measure with the aim of providing a ranking of southern economics departments based on faculty research productivity. Economics departments included in the survey were taken from those southern schools that appear in U.S. News and World Report’s American’s Best Colleges 1998. Sixty-nine such universities were ranked.

Numerical data was collected from American Economic Association’s Journal of Economic Literature index from 1982 to 1997, which includes economics journals as well as a number of law, political science, sociology, and other related journals. A numerical score was assigned to a core of economists from each institution. By this scientific measure, George Mason’s Department of Economics proves to be the most productive for the 15-year period ending in 1997.

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