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|About||For over a century, the Department of Economics at MIT has played a leading role in economics education, research, and public service.|
For over a century, the Department of Economics at MIT has played a leading role in economics education, research, and public service. Francis Amasa Walker, MIT’s third president, introduced undergraduate studies in economics more than one hundred years ago. Walker, who rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Civil War and directed the 1870 U.S. Census, was a leading economist of his day. He was a founder and president of the American Economic Association. In the early part of the twentieth century, Davis R. Dewey, the editor of the American Economic Review for twenty years and a longtime chairman of the MIT Economics Department, played a major role in preserving and expanding economics at MIT. In 1937, the Department added graduate courses leading to a master’s degree. Four years later, in 1941, it inaugurated the Ph.D. program that is renowned worlwide. MIT’s approach to graduate training in economics has been widely emulated at other leading institutions.
MIT established its School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (SHASS) in 1950, with the Economics Department playing a central role within the School. The Economics Department expanded significantly in the years following World War II with entrepreneurial leadership from Rupert MacLaurin and a supportive university administration. By the 1950s, it was established as one of the world’s leading centers for economic research. Graduates of the MIT Economics Department’s doctoral program are now well-represented on the faculties of virtually all leading economics departments.
The MIT Economics Department today is a vibrant collection of faculty and students. The Department’s distinguished scholars have received numerous awards, including four Nobel Prizes (Peter Diamond, the late Paul Samuelson, Robert Solow, and the late Franco Modigliani), and many are Fellows of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Econometric Society. Many faculty members have served in