Economics helps provide answers for some of the world’s most pressing questions, from the future of work to ending global poverty to improving the environment.

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Penny Pritzker's '81 Monumental Gift Provides the Department of Economics A Space to Grow


Penny Pritzker


Penny Pritzker '81, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 2013-2017, has made a $100 million dollar gift to the University.  The gift is in support of creating a new home for the department, allowing for innovation in teaching and research by the faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.

Read more about the announcement in the Harvard Gazette



The large number of professors and their diverse interests enable a student to study virtually any area of economics.  The extraordinary quality of Harvard undergraduates makes the classroom environment stimulating for teacher and student alike.

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Supported by a diverse group of faculty who are top researchers in their fields and fueled by a vast array of resources, the PhD program is structured to train and nurture students to become leading economists in academia, government agencies, the technology industry, finance and banking, and global policy organizations.

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At a Glance

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The Department of Economics is part of the larger academe of teaching and research at Harvard University.

Faculty Spotlight

Harvard undergraduate and graduate students are the finest in the world and are the lifeblood of the department. Every year we get a new group that challenges me to the utmost. I thrive on it.

claudia goldin

Claudia Goldin

Henry Lee Professor of Economics

News and Events

Professor Stefanie Stantcheva to Be Awarded the 7th Calvó-Armengol Prize

October 21, 2021

The Barcelona Graduate School of Economics has announced that the seventh Calvó-Armengol International Prize in Economics will be awarded to Professor Stefanie Stantcheva for her "pioneering research that integrates human capital into optimal tax theory and creative empirical work on the mobility response to taxation."


Read more about Professor Stefanie Stantcheva to Be Awarded the 7th Calvó-Armengol Prize
Janos Kornai

In Memoriam: János Kornai 1928 - 2021

October 19, 2021

The Harvard economics department deeply regrets the passing of emeritus Professor János Kornai, who served as Allie S. Freed Professor of Economics from 1986 to 2002.  Professor Kornai made seminal contributions to comparative economics and to our understanding of socialist economies.  His 1980 volume on the “Economics of Shortage” explained why shortages were so endemic in socialist economies, and introduced the concept of a “soft budget...

Read more about In Memoriam: János Kornai 1928 - 2021
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  • Fields of Study


    The study of the application of using hypothetical quantitative economic models.

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    Political Economy

    The study of production and trade and their relations with law, custom and government; and with the distribution of national income and wealth.

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    The study of developing and using statistical and mathematical tools to analyze economic issues and policy

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    The study of the national economy and the determinants of national production, unemployment, and inflation.

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    Economic History

    The study of how economies and economic outcomes have changed over history and how economic institutions have developed. 

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    International Economics

    The study of the effects upon economic activity from international differences in productive resources and consumer preferences and the international institutions that affect them. 

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  • Fields of Study

    Behavioral Economics

    The study of the cognitive and emotional dimensions of economic decisions.

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    Industrial Organization

    The study of individual markets and the nature of competition. Topics include anti-trust policy, the role of advertising, and how costs vary with the scale of operations. This field also studies particular industries such as software and technology firms, sports, and tourism.

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    Economic Development

    The study of why some countries have developed while others have not, with special focus on the world’s less developed countries. How might the industrialized countries improve prospects for development around the world?

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    Labor Economics

    The study of employers’ decisions to hire workers and employees’ decisions to work. This involves determinants of wages, the incentives workers face, and the role of minimum wage laws, unions, pensions, and training programs. 

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    Financial Economics

    The study of how to value and determine the price of assets with uncertain returns their derivatives and the markets that trade them; the study of how firms finance their operations and the capital structure of firms.

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    Public Economics

    The study of the role of government in the economy including how to evaluate government programs, the design of tax systems, and how the political process makes decisions.

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