End of Economics and Policy Studies

Posted: 30 June 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

That’s it. Today is the last day for the Department of Economics and Policy Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Tomorrow, ECOP will be officially shut down.

For those who are not familiar with the history, here’s a little recap: ECOP started as a Department of Economics open to alternative perspectives in 1975, when Chuck Wilber was hired as the chair. The department continued to grow and flourish, adding new members and new areas of research and teaching, to become one of the premier departments of “heterodox economics” in the United States. (To be clear, in the United States, a department of heterodox economics means that it includes some heterodox economists, not that it is exclusively heterodox. To refer to the Notre Dame program as a department of heterodox economics serves to distinguish it from all the other, exclusively mainstream departments, which include no heterodox economists.) Over the years, thousands of graduate and undergraduate students were exposed to both mainstream and heterodox perspectives through the teaching, research, and service of members of the department.

In 2003, the university administration decided to start the process of closing down the department, by renaming the existing program the Department of Economics and Policy Studies, and creating a new department (the Department of Economics and Econometrics), which was defined as an exclusively neoclassical program. The new department was given complete control over the doctoral program and the right to make all new hires in economics. The old, renamed department took primary responsibility for the undergraduate program, which continued to flourish.

This year, the university administration took the second step in closing down ECOP, by deciding to dissolve the department and to ask the remaining members to find positions for themselves elsewhere. As of tomorrow, the Department of Economics and Econometrics will be renamed the Department of Economics and become the sole program of both undergraduate and graduate economics at the university. (More elements of this history, including some of the key documents, can be found here.)

What this means is that the University of Notre Dame has decided to enshrine neoclassical theory as the privileged approach to economics precisely when, in the midst of the greatest crisis of capitalism since the Great Depression, the economics establishment is being called into question and alternative approaches are being discovered and explored. But such discussions will no longer be officially sanctioned at the University of Notre Dame.

Comments
  1. […] 1, 2010 by Kasey Dufresne Ruccio notes that as of today, the Economics and Policy Studies department at the University of Notre Dame is dissolved, and the […]

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  3. […] the department of economics at the University of Notre Dame—first by splitting the department in 2003, and then by dissolving one of the departments in 2010—was done in the name of raising the […]

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