Economic behaviors and policies influence each person’s well-being, regardless of demographic characteristics, experiences, identities, or beliefs. As a department and discipline, we are better able to investigate and understand economic issues when we can draw upon a wide range of perspectives and experiences. We hope that all students consider studying economics and know that they are welcome in our department and our classes.
One of the most important conclusions of economic theory is that groups benefit from exchange based on differences rather than individual strength. Our discipline is stronger when it engages and reflects people of all backgrounds.
Realizing these gains from intellectual trade demands a commitment to honest, free, and respectful exchange of ideas. Because economics demonstrates that all choices involve trade-offs, we will sometimes disagree with one another, even about consequential questions. What is more, economic models and empirical analyses often lead to unexpected and at times uncomfortable conclusions.
Defending or challenging these conclusions require a strong commitment to academic freedom, where faculty and students alike can freely investigate and exchange ideas. We acknowledge that all models are imperfect representations of the world. We are always examining our models, methods, and assumptions, and we remain open to changing our minds in light of new evidence. In the spirit of a liberal arts education, our goal is to encourage students to do the same. We seek to understand the world around us as it occurs and as it could be and accept that exploring ideas is not the same as endorsing them.
Learning to “think like an economist”—to use models and test them with empirical evidence—takes time and is as much a process as an outcome. For those undertaking this journey, we value and encourage persistence, honesty and integrity (with oneself and others), creativity, and effective collaboration. Doing this intellectual work in community involves social and intellectual risks, and we strive continually to practice respectful discourse so that all voices are heard.