Claremont Institute for Economic Policy Studies (CIEPS)
Director: Tom Willett, Ph.D.
Founded in 1983, the Claremont Institute for Economic Policy Studies is the research arm of the economics and political economy programs at CGU. It is directed by Thomas D. Willett, Horton Professor of Economics. Graduate students and economics and political science faculty from CGU and the other Claremont Colleges and a group of research associates are involved in the work of the Institute.
In addition to providing research assistantships and engaging in specific research projects, the Institute frequently organizes seminars, conferences, workshops, and sessional professional meetings such as the Asia Pacific Economic Association and the Western Economic Association International on various aspects of political economy and economic policy. The Institute also sponsors visiting scholars.
The Institute has developed a group of research associates from other universities who are closely involved in many of its activities, and has entered into cooperative activities with a number of universities and research institutes in the United States and abroad.
An International Reputation
The Institute has developed an international reputation for producing high-quality policy research and analysis of domestic and international economic policy issues and has become a leader in promoting cooperative work between economists and political scientists on the political economy of economic policy, public choice analysis, the new institutional economics, and comparative and international political economy. A major focus of research is on the relationships among institutions and economic performance, including economic growth, inflation, migration, and currency and financial crisis. As a consequence we have become a leader in the development and evaluation of measures of social, political, and institutional variables to be used in empirical research in political economy.
Close Interaction with Faculty
The Institute, and SPE more generally, emphasize close interaction between students and faculty and the activities of the Institute are seen as an important venue for student mentoring, especially in helping students develop their skills in undertaking applied economic and political economy research and preparing research papers and policy reports. A large number of published papers by graduate students, often coauthored with faculty, have come out of Institute projects.
A Wide Range of Policy Issues
The Institute focuses on a wide range of policy issues which are analyzed from an array of approaches including formal models, econometric techniques, informal theory and historical case studies. Common themes in Institute projects involve the need to pay careful attention to data and the historical and institutional situations in which formal theory and statistical methods are applied and the importance of political influences on economic and policies. Such emphasis is often referred to by labels such as public choice or political economy analysis or the new institutional economics. While focusing on the role of incentives, we emphasize issues of imperfect information, collective actions, coordination and principal-agent problems, cognitive limitations, and differences in objectives and mental models that generate deviations from the predictions of simple full information unified actor models of rational choice.
Descriptions of a number of ongoing major research projects are available below. These projects have often led to members' doctoral dissertations and post-doctoral studies.