Our department was created along with Johns Hopkins University when it was founded in 1876. Although there are many older universities in the U.S., Johns Hopkins was the first modern research university in the country, defining its mission to integrate research and teaching and emphasizing graduate education and research, as in the German model. 

The Department of Political Economy, as it was named then (as were many other economics departments at the time) followed this philosophy, giving priority to graduate research. It awarded its first PhD in 1878 to Henry Adams, who later became a distinguished professor at the University of Michigan. Notable early faculty in the Department included:

  • Herbert Baxter Adams, the very first faculty member and an economic historian who had been trained in the German system
  • Sidney Sherwood, an early advocate of the “marginalist” approach to economics which now dominates the discipline
  • Francis Walker, often considered to be the “Dean” of American economics at the time.

1950s to Present

Since that time, many remarkable faculty members and graduate students have conducted research in economics at Johns Hopkins. By the 1950s, even though the department employed only seven full-time faculty members, it had grown to one of the best departments in the country. Faculty at the time and in the 1960s included 

  • Evsey Domar
  • Simon Kuznets (Nobel Prize 1971), 
  • Fritz Machlup
  • Jurg Niehans
  • Carl Christ
  • Edwin Mills
  • Peter Newman

Its graduate program produced Nobel Prize winners Merton Miller (PhD ’53) and Robert Fogel (PhD ’63).

Since that time, the Department of Economics has continued to pursue research and training in economics at the highest levels of excellence.