About The Department
The Economics Department was established in 1908 under the name of Department of Political Economy and Political Philosophy. The name was changed in 1932 to the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1960, the Department was bifurcated to form the Departments of Economics and Political Science, respectively. In 1965, a Research Wing was established by the Government of West Bengal. When the Department was selected as a Special Centre of Excellence in 1972 by the University Grants Commission, this wing was renamed as the Centre for Economic Studies.
The Economics Department has a rich heritage of teaching. Sir Jehangir Cooverji Coyajee, a student of Caius College, Cambridge, was one of the first of the great teachers of the Department. His erudition and skill as a teacher helped to make Calcutta a leading Indian center for economic study and research. In its golden era, the Department ran arguably one of the finest undergraduate programmes in the world. Teachers included Bhabatosh Datta, Tapas Majumdar, Amiya Bagchi, Dipak Banerjee, Mihir Rakshitt, Upen Ghoshal, Nabyendu Sen, to name a few.
Traditionally, the Department had emphasized on theoretical aspects of the discipline. In the last decade, in keeping with current global trends in research and teaching, the Department broadened its focus to stress empirical methodologies and software based learning. In 2005, the Department of Science and Technology’s FIST grant facilitated the introduction of a Masters in Applied Economics programme. The motive behind this development was to introduce students to current empirical methods and econometric/statistical software, and provide them with grounding in undertaking empirical research. The curriculum, integrating theoretical knowledge with applied skills, produced a new generation of students fit for cutting edge research.
The UG and PG curriculum is periodically upgraded and modernised after the College became a University. In 2018, the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) has been introduced at the UG level, following the directives of the University Grants Commission. The Ph.D. programme, which had been temporarily discontinued after the Center for Economic Studies was closed, was re-started in 2019.
The department holds frequent workshops and seminars , where leading economists interact with the students. In addition, the Department has started a weekly Faculty Colloquium Series from 2019. Further, Professor Abhjit Vinayak Banerjee organizes the prestigious Dipak Banerjee Memorial Lecture every year. Of the eminent speakers invited to deliver this prestigious lecture there has been three Nobel Laureates (Joseph Stiglitz in 2012, Amartya Sen in 2013, and Jean Tirole in 2017). The Macroeconomic Study Group, which had originally been formed during the heydays of the Center for Economic Studies, has restarted holding monthly meetings in the Department. This study group comprises of Prof. Mihir Rakshitt, Prof. Asis Banerje, Prof. Dipankar Dasgupta, Prof. Ramprasad Sengupta, Prof. Pradeep Maiti, Prof. Susmita Rakshitt, and Prof. Soumyen Sikdar.
The majority of the UG students join leading academic institutes in India, like Indian Statistical Institutes, Delhi School of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, different IIMs, and others; a few also successfully seek admission in foreign Universities like London School of Economics, University College of London, SOAS University of London, and others. Students of the Fifth Semester may also attend one semester of their course work in Sciences-Po, Paris or Groningen University under Student Exchange Programmes.
At the PG level, the emphasis is on corporate placement, with a high proportion of our students being recruited by reputed data analytics and financial services companies. However, several of our students have been admitted to Ph.D. programmes in universities like MIT, Southern Methodist University, New York State University, Washington University at St. Louis, University at Albany SUNY, University of Minnesota, Purdue University, West Virginia University, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, University of British Colombia, University of Florida, etc.
Appointment to the University posts was started in 2012. Currently there are two Professors, two Associate Professors, and four Assistant Professors in the Department.
In 2015, Dr. Sudha Murthy gave a generous endowment for the purpose of setting up the Infosys Foundation Chair Professor in Economics. In 2016, Prof. Pulak Ghosh, a Professor in the Decision Sciences and Information Systems Area at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, joined this post. Currently, Prof. Indrajit Ray , Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University is holding the post. Prof. Ray is an expert in the areas of Game Theory, Mathematical Economics and Experimental Economics, with experience of teaching in University of York, University of Birmingham and Brown University. He is expected to give a thrust to the research activities of the Department, and expose the students to academic developments and research possibilities abroad.
The Department has received two other endowments: Pasupati Sadhu Khan Industrial Chair of Economics from Mr. Pasupati Sadhu Khan and Nirmal Kanti Majumdar Endowment Fund from Prof. Mukul Majumdar, Cornell University, for conducting seminars/conferences on biennial basis.
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