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The University of Chicago and the Study of Economics

For years, there have been disparaging one-liners about the University of Chicago that are enjoyed most by its students and alumni, such as, “The place where fun comes to die” and, “The circle of hell Dante forgot”. This deprecating take on their beloved school has not discouraged the Nobel Committee from picking its faculty, alumni, students, and researchers as Nobel laureates in the field of economics.

Since it was initiated in 1968, the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded 49 times. The University of Chicago has been the affiliation of 29 of these winners. The laureates include such world-renowned economists as Paul Samuelson (1970), Kenneth Arrow (1972), Friedrich Von Hayek (1974), Milton Friedman (1976), and the 2017 winner, Richard Thaler. Seven Nobel winners are now on the faculty of Chicago’s Economics Department or the Booth School of Business. They are George Stigler (1982), Merton Miller (1990), Ronald Coase (1991), Gary Becker (1992), Robert Fogel (1993), Myron Scholes (1997), and Eugene Fama (2013).

This year, the University of Chicago received a $125 million gift from Ken Griffin, the founder of a hedge fund, to endow the Economics Department. It’s the second largest gift in the university’s history, behind only David Booth’s $300 million endowment for the Booth School of Business.

The “Chicago School” of economics, as it’s known, favors free and efficient markets. The New York Times (Nov. 1, 2017) noted, “It’s ironic that Mr. Griffin’s name and cash — earned in a business that depends on markets being inefficient — will now endow the university’s economics department.” Despite the reputation of the Chicago School for its laissez-faire take on economics, a student there is assured of a balanced view of the field. For proof, one need look no further than this year’s Nobel Prize winner for economics, the behavioral economist Richard Thaler. His work on human biases affecting investment decisions ignores the quantitative, monetary approach to economics of Milton Friedman and Eugene Fama. Moreover, Chicago’s first Nobel winner in economics was Paul Samuelson, who literally wrote the book on Keynesian economics, the mainstream theory that guided U.S. policy for decades.

In addition to the Nobel Committee, another organization that has a high opinion of the university is US News and World Report. They ranked Chicago #3 (tied with Yale) on their latest ranking of National Universities, behind only Princeton and Harvard. They note that, “It is very difficult to get accepted into the University of Chicago because it has an extremely competitive admissions process. Just 8% of applicants were accepted according to our data. More than 31,000 applied and less than 2,500 were accepted.”

As a student in the Economics Department, you’ll be fortunate to be in The College, home to the liberal arts and sciences. You’ll take diverse coursework across many disciplines within Chicago’s renowned undergraduate Core Curriculum program.

Chicago’s Department of Economics is a propitious path for highly qualified high school seniors who wish to major in economics and make a career in the field. IvySelect, ascollege admissions consulting firm specializing in elite institutions like Chicago, works patiently with you to develop your unique educational strategy. We then assist you in gaining admission to your best–fit schools. In doing so, we greatly improve your ability to achieve your educational and career goals.

By the way, even if the university’s beautiful campus occasionally gets boring, Chicago is a great city for students.