The Department of Economics and the Graduate Group in Economics offer instruction at both the undergraduate and graduate (Ph.D.) levels. Resources and expertise are available for the study of basic theory, quantitative methods, applied analysis, the structure of modern economies, and the formulation and evaluation of economic policy. In addition to a number of core course requirements for both the B.A. and Ph.D. degrees, the department offers a seminar and workshop series which train graduate students to conduct independent research. Notably, the department's faculty is ranked among the top six in the nation in research output.
The Economics Department is one of the larger and more active in the School of Arts and Sciences. The faculty is currently composed of approximately 40 full-time members and a number of secondary appointments, primarily from the Wharton School. In addition to sizable undergraduate course enrollments, the department averages the largest number of B.A. degrees granted per year (193) over the five year period 1985-1990. Its graduate program is also among the largest, averaging 17 Ph.D.s per year over the same period, and leads to teaching and/or research in both the public and private sectors. The number of M.A.s granted is unknown.
The broad nature of the field is evident in the Economics Department's collaborations with other schools and departments. It has ties with the Wharton School, the Law School, and with numerous SAS departments. The establishment of joint research centers, such as the Institute for Law and Economics, is a manifestation of these ties. A number of other centers, including the Economics Research Unit (ERU) and the Center for Analytic Research in Economics and the Social Sciences (CARESS), function within the Economics Department as focal points for those with similar research interests.
The bulk of the University's economics collection is housed in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Shelf list counts (as of October 1991) indicate approximately 80,000 titles in the Library of Congress HB-HJ classifications (with about 60,000 in HB-HD). Material in the older Dewey classification equivalents are not included. The focus of the Van Pelt collection is on economic theory, econometric methods, and macro- and microeconomics. As currency is important in the field, journals are the primary tools. A keyword search on Franklin indicates over 1600 economics and economics-related periodicals in the Penn libraries. Although the largest portion of the economics collection is in English, a number of European and some other languages are represented as well.
The publications of government and intergovernmental organizations which contain primary data and policy information are also very important. The Penn Library is a depository for U.S. government documents (43 percent) and for United Nations and, with Biddle Law Library, European Community documents. It is also a partial depository for Pennsylvania state publications. These materials are housed in the Van Pelt, Lippincott, or Biddle libraries, depending on the subject material. Van Pelt has a blanket order for all UNESCO English language books and pamphlets and for English or French periodicals. Lippincott Library acquires all OECD, GATT/WTO publications and many FAO publication series.
Networked online fulltext news and financial data are provided through licensed networked online databases: Dow Jones Interactive, EIU Business Newsletters, Euromonitor's Global Market Information Database, and LEXIS/NEXIS Academic Universe, in addition to the licensed online databases Datastream and Bloomberg: financial markets, commodities, news, available for onsite use at Lippincott Library.
The rapid dissemination of research findings is a hallmark of economics research. To facilitate access as expeditiously as possible, the Penn Library relies heavily upon electronic resources. Fulltext journal articles are provided through networked e-journal projects and individual subscriptions, e.g., Project JSTOR, EconBASE, OCLCs ECO service, Springer LINK, Academic Press Ideal Service, and Wiley InterScience. Penn Library Web pages link to online economics and business-related working paper compendia and bibliographic and fulltext lists, in some cases licensed (e.g., NBER Working Papers and CIAO: Columbia International Affairs Online), as well as subject-specific web sites relevant to Penns research and curricular interests.
Bibliographic access to the collection is provided through Franklin, the Penn Library's online catalog. The Van Pelt Library Card Catalog is still needed for locating some pre-1968 materials.
Comprehensive access to the economics journal literature is provided primarily through the licensed networked online database EconLit (and its print counterpart, Journal of economic literature and its predecessors), supplemented by Penn Library Web pages linking to online economics working paper compendia and bibliographic and fulltext lists. Additional subject-specific licensed networked databases relevant for economic research include ABI/Inform, CAB Abstracts, Current Index to Statistics, ISI Citation Indexes, MathSciNet, PAIS International, ProQuest Digital Dissertations, Sociological Abstracts, Statistical Universe, and STAT-USA/Internet.
The collections of the Wharton School's Lippincott Library, the Population Studies Center Library, and the Math/Physics and Engineering libraries are heavily used as well. Other collections, such as that of the Biomedical Library, may be consulted as needs dictate.
Guidelines for Collection Development
Current work in economics is the focus of the collection effort. Earlier works are purchased selectively.
Books and journals are primarily collected. Because of the importance of currency in the field, journals are particularly noteworthy. Electronic information sources, primarily those permitting access to recent work or data, are increasingly important for both instructional and research needs. Working papers from major series and microform are also selectively considered, and the Penn Library Web provides more generalized access to working papers.
The areal interests of the field as well as of those doing economic research on campus are worldwide.
Although there are no limitations as to which languages the library collects, the bulk of material obtained is in English. Major European language material is purchased selectively as are materials in other languages, particularly in areas where Penn has historical strengths or research is ongoing. Non-western language materials of the Middle East, South and East Asia, the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe are collected by area studies bibliographers.
5. Publication dates
The emphasis is on currently produced material. Retrospective materials are purchased selectively.
Principal sources of supply and major selection tools
The interdisciplinary character of Economics results in materials being acquired from widely diverse sources. Approval plans, standing orders, user request, regular review of the scholarly literature, and publisher notifications account for most of the material purchased.
Subjects collected and levels of collecting
The Economics Department relies heavily on the collections of the Wharton School's Lippincott Library for business and industry information as well as other materials. The Math/Physics and Engineering libraries hold much material concerning mathematical modeling and statistical analyses, both important tools in economics research. Transportation and the management of technology materials are collected by Engineering as well.
The collection of the Population Studies Center library which focuses on population and demography issues contains considerable data produced by the U.S. government and international governments and agencies.
Social Science Computing (including the Social Science Data Center) is heavily relied upon for numerical information in machine readable form - - important to both research and instruction in the field. Wharton School faculty, researchers, and students have access to WRDS, providing access to Compustat, CRSP, and DRI financial databases.