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About Us


The Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics at Yale University has as its purpose the conduct and encouragement of research in economics. The Cowles Foundation seeks to foster the development and application of rigorous logical, mathematical, and statistical methods of analysis. Among its activities, the Cowles Foundation provides financial support for research, visiting faculty, postdoctoral fellowships, workshops, and graduate students. Cowles regularly sponsors conferences and publishes a working paper series, a reprint series, and monographs.

Research Programs

The Cowles Foundation provides support for research and research-related activities through Research Programs in seven core areas of interest to Cowles: Algorithms, Data, and Market Design; Econometrics; Economic Theory; Industrial Organization; International Trade; Labor and Public Economics; and Macroeconomics. Each of these broad areas has deep ties to the Cowles tradition and provides a foundation for other fields of inquiry in economics and related fields. Cowles Program Areas sponsor visiting faculty and post-docs, organize conferences, and provide other research resources at Yale.

From time to time, Cowles also sponsors shorter-term research initiatives in areas of emerging interest.

Research Staff

Members of the Cowles Research Staff are, as a rule, faculty members with appointments and teaching responsibilities in the Department of Economics and other departments at Yale.

Brief History

The Cowles Foundation continues the work of the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics, founded in 1932 by Alfred Cowles at Colorado Springs. The Commission moved to Chicago in 1939 and was affiliated with the University of Chicago until 1955. In 1955 the professional research staff of the Commission accepted appointments at Yale and, along with other members of the Yale Department of Economics, formed the research staff of the newly established Cowles Foundation.

Theory and Measurement

The motto “Theory and Measurement,” first adopted in 1952, succinctly captures the mission of the Cowles Foundation: development and application of rigorous logical, mathematical, and statistical methods of analysis in economics and related fields. This motto replaced the original Cowles Commission motto “Science is Measurement,” reflecting the importance of theory that became clear early in the history of Cowles. Over the years Cowles scholars have made important contributions to economic theory, to econometric theory, and to a broad range of fields of economics through work that combines economic models with statistical methods of measurement. The mission of “theory and measurement” is reflected in the broad range of Cowles activities today, including those of its six core research programs in Econometrics, Economic Theory, Industrial Organization, International Trade, Labor and Public Economics, and Macroeconomics.