Research in the Faculty
The Faculty is a large and diverse research environment that is enhanced by collaborations with colleagues in other faculties, e. g. Law, Management, Geography, History, Social and Political Sciences, Land Economy, and with people in other universities and institutions such as the ESRC Tyndall Climate Change Centre, the Centre for Communications and Systems Research.
In addition, the Faculty is closely involved with The Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) Electricity Project, an interdisciplinary initiative that brings together economists and engineers from the University of Cambridge and MIT.
The Cambridge India Partnership website features a number of Faculty Economists involved with research in India.
Faculty Academics, in addition to listing their publications on their Home Pages, are registered with EconPapers. Their EconPapers-listed Publications and associated Access Statistics can be accessed via their link below.
A Brief History of the Faculty of Economics
Economists have been flourishing in Cambridge University for a long time. Robert Malthus, active two hundred years ago, was described by Keynes as 'the first of the Cambridge economists'. But it was in 1903 that the Professor of Political Economy, Alfred Marshall succeeded in establishing what was to become the Economics Tripos as an undergraduate degree course and thereby established the Faculty of Economics and Politics. By then Marshall had already published his great Principles of Economics in which he set out for the first time the geometric analysis of supply and demand, incorporating the systematic treatment of different time periods. He went on to develop the quantity theory of money in an attempt to understand the macro-economy. In 1907 Marshall's professorship was taken by Arthur Pigou who developed the foundations of modern public economics in his The Economics of Welfare, published in 1920.
Between the Wars, the Faculty was extraordinarily innovative, witnessing the birth of modern macro-economics and a revolution in micro-economics. The dominant figure was Marshall's pupil John Maynard Keynes who, throughout his life, moved fruitfully between academic thought and public policy. His analysis of the role of monetary and fiscal policy in determining the level of employment has enhanced public policy making ever since, as have the international institutions he caused to be established after the Second World War. Joan Robinson published The Economics of Imperfect Competition in 1933. Working with both on these problems were, among others, Denis Robertson, Richard Kahn, Austin Robinson, Maurice Dobb and Piero Sraffa.
The economic demands of the Second World War provided the stimulus for Richard Stone and James Meade to develop the basis of modern national accounting. Both were subsequently to be awarded Nobel Prizes for this and other work. With Keynes, Stone established the Department of Applied Economics in 1945, as a research wing for the Faculty, with financial support from the University. His Directorship was followed by those of Brian Reddaway and Wynne Godley, before the present Director, David Newbery took over in 1988. From its inception, the DAE has proved to be a remarkable nursery for economists who have achieved subsequent distinction in academic and public life.
Many distinguished scholars have worked in the Faculty and contributed to its intellectual life in recent decades, among them Nicholas Kaldor and Frank Hahn. The present Faculty continues its long established interest in public economics, macro-economics, business strategy, and the problems of economic measurement. Sir James Mirrlees was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1996 for his work on optimal taxation and the theory of incentives, and Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1998 for his work on welfare economics and income distribution. Sir Partha Dasgupta has been President of the Royal Economic Society and President of the European Economic Association.
Another tradition upheld by current Faculty members is that of involvement in public policy, active on, among other bodies, the Monetary Policy Committee, the Competition Commission, the Low Pay Commission, and the Accounting Standards Board. As the Faculty of Economics and Politics approaches its hundredth birthday, it remains committed to keeping economics useful.