The Department of Economics is considered to be one of the country's premier academic institutions and is acknowledged as a centre for excellence in post-graduate teaching and research. Based on its research profile, the Department is currently ranked highest amongst economics departments in India by RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), a global electronic archive of working papers and publications in economics and finance. The Department has been the home of the prestigious Indian Economic Review since 1952. It also actively publishes a working paper series which features the research of its faculty and visitors.
The Department supports Masters, M.Phil. and Doctoral programmes in Economics. The Masters programme draws a huge number of applicants from all over the country and many from abroad and is regarded as one of the best in Asia. It has a strong theoretical and quantitative focus with an emphasis on empirical applications. Its hallmark is the dynamic curriculum offered, that is continuously reviewed and updated in line with latest developments in the field. The Department also continues to attract research students for its M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes which have grown considerably in recent years.
The Department regularly organises conferences, workshops and seminars. An annual event is the Winter School which brings in distinguished economists from around the world to interact with doctoral students and faculty. Speakers at the last two Winter Schools have included Nobel laureate Professor Thomas Sargent (New York University), Professor Stephen Morris (Princeton University), Professor Ariel Rubinstein (New York and Tel Aviv Universities), Professor Mukesh Eswaran (University of British Columbia), Professor Imran Rasul (University College London), Professor M. Scott Taylor (University of Calgary), Professor Kaushik Basu (Cornell University) and Professor Bina Agarwal (Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi).
In 2012, the Department organised two major international conferences, namely, Perspectives on Indian Economic Development and Policy, a conference in memory of Professor Suresh Tendulkar, and the Asian Meeting of the Econometric Society (AMES 2012) the most prestigious learned society in the field of economics. The Asian Meeting is one of the five regional meetings of the Society and this was the first time that the unified Asian Meeting was held in India. In 2013, the Department organized a special Golden Jubilee conference of the Indian Econometric Society (TIES). Leading Indian and international scholars presented their work at each of these conferences. Apart from these events, the Department has a regular seminar series and also hosts lectures by distinguished economists. Speakers have included Nobel laureates Angus Deaton, Eric Maskin, John Nash, Amartya Sen, and Thomas Sargent, as well as eminent economists Kaushik Basu, Partha Dasgupta, and Hal Varian.Top policy makers including Montek Ahluwalia, C. Rangarajan, and Arvind Subramanian have also spoken at various events in recent years. M.Phil. and Ph.D. students are expected to present their work in progress regularly in a separate weekly research students' colloquium.
Past faculty and alumni
The Department is proud of its many past faculty members who have made significant contributions to the economics discipline. Foremost among these are the first three Heads of the Department, V.K.R.V. Rao, B.N. Ganguli and K.N. Raj, who went on to become Vice Chancellors of the University of Delhi. The foundations they had laid down were built upon by their successors Professors K.A. Naqvi, S. Chakravarty, A.L. Nagar, Mrinal Datta Chaudhuri, Dharma Kumar, K.L. Krishna, S.B. Gupta, Suresh D. Tendulkar, Om Prakash, Badal Mukhopadhyay, V.N. Pandit, K. Sundaram, Pulin B. Nayak, Partha Sen, Santosh C. Panda, B.L. Pandit and Pami Dua.
Other distinguished economists who have served on the faculty include Pranab Bardhan, Kaushik Basu, Jagdish Bhagwati, Sukhamoy Chakravarty, Bhaskar Dutta, Raj Krishna, Prasanta Pattanaik and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.
The Department is also proud of its numerous alumni who have gone on to distinguished academic careers, including a large number of Fellows of the Econometric Society and awardees of other academic honours and prizes. Department alumni can be found in most major Economics, Business and Public Policy departments worldwide, very often as members of the faculty, and even more commonly, as doctoral students.
Several former faculty members, including Professors V.K.R.V. Rao, K.N. Raj, Raj Krishna and Sukhamoy Chakravarty, as well as former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, served the nation as ministers and high-level functionaries in the government, as central bank governors, as economic advisers to the government and international bodies, as members of the Planning Commission, as regulators or members of important government Commissions and committees. Others have served as public intellectuals and as public-spirited activists.
The Department's alumni represent an important point of engagement with the private corporate sector of the economy. While the Department's students have always found jobs in journalism, the media, finance, consultancy and other areas of the private sector, the number of alumni in these fields has grown manifold in the past two decades of economic growth and liberalization. We are proud of the many alumni who are now leaders of corporate India in many fields.
The Department is building on this evolving tradition and continues to perform the functions of academic research, teaching and public service. Current faculty have published their research in leading Indian and international journals, and have won prestigious international and Indian awards and fellowships. Several faculty members serve on the governing bodies or academic councils of important academic institutions. In its continuing quest for excellence, the Department is privileged to be supported by the University in having a state-of-the-art computing and physical infrastructure and the Ratan Tata Library, one of the country's best.
The Department has separate computer labs for Masters and research students. The labs have about 45 latest quad core i7 based desktops. Here, students receive training in data analysis and economic modeling using specialized econometric packages such as Stata, E-views, Shazam, Microfit, Gauss, RATS (Regression Analysis of Time Series), NLOGIT, Mathematica etc. These computers are connected to a powerful server that aids distribution of course-materials to the students by the faculty. For this course-wise folders are available through the network drive in each desktop. The students have access to high speed internet through these desktops to aid their research. The computer lab also provides printing facilities to research students through a network printer. Computer labs provide access to various offline and online databases such as NSSO (National Sample Survey Organization), NFHS (national Family Health Survey), Census data, ASI (Annual Survey of Industries), NAS (National Accounts Statistics), CMIE Prowess database on companies, SDP (State Domestic Product) from EPWRF, indiastat.com etc. The online access to journal archives such as jstor.org, science direct.com etc is also available to students through the University of Delhi's internet. Laptops are made available to students for presentations. The entire building is wi-fi enabled so that research students can use their own laptops to access the internet from the research students' room.
The Department website (www.econdse.org) provides information about faculty specializations and research; thesis topics of PhD students; admissions procedures; recommended readings for courses; notices for upcoming seminars, conferences and public lectures; and links to useful academic websites. The department's website is an important source of interaction between the Department and the students. The website is based on WordPress CMS (Content Management System) and is actively updated on a daily basis. Faculty can post and update the information on the website themselves. Here, students have online access to the course material, lecture slides and weekly seminar announcements.