Why Economics?

View of the downtown Minneapolis skyline and bulidings in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood viewed from Hanson Hall, home of the Department of Economics
“Minnesota economics has a long tradition of excellence that goes back to Walter W. Heller and Leo Hurwicz. An important part of this tradition is the focus on research on the frontier of the field—and this applies to graduate students as well as to faculty.”
—Professor Jan Werner

How do the decisions of individuals and groups impact the world around us? What are the unintended consequences of these decisions? How best are scarce resources allocated to ensure the well-being of all? How do political and legal policies affect our lives? These are the types of questions that the study of economics helps answer.

The University of Minnesota’s Department of Economics is consistently ranked among the top departments in the world. Our award-winning faculty and graduate students do cutting-edge research in areas as diverse as researching the changes that occur in the brain while making economic decisions, how Walmart chooses locations for their stores, and how multinational firms trade technology for market access in developing countries. Department faculty advise central banks and foreign governments on policy. The Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute and the department’s long relationship with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis are two more indicators of the vibrant research climate.