The research life of the Economics Department is facilitated by an active workshop program, the presence of several research centers, and the availability of first-rate computing capability. Graduate students who are research or teaching assistants, and almost all those who are actively writing their dissertations, are provided with office space in the department.
Several research centers function within the Economics Department. They serve as focal points for students and faculty interested in the same substantive areas of economic research and often provide some financial support to students.
The Penn Institute for Economic Research (PIER) is an umbrella organization, bringing together economic research activities throughout the university. The Institute's mission is to promote and support the efforts of faculty and students in advancing the science of economics; to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and research results within and outside of the Penn academic community, and to foster a better understanding of the importance of basic economic research in the formulation and assessment of public policy. The Institute's activities include holding conferences, at which research papers are presented, disseminating research findings through a Working Paper Series, sponsoring research through a small-grants program, and producing a newsletter summarizing research findings for a non-academic audience. There are eight research programs housed within the Institute: international economics, macroeconomics, economic development, industrial organization, microeconomic theory, labor economics, econometric theory, and financial economics.
The Institute for Law and Economics (ILE) is a joint research center of the Department of Economics, the Law School, and the Wharton School. It sponsors a cross-disciplinary curriculum at the Law School and the Department of Economics and conducts research on labor markets, tax, antitrust, capital markets, and financial institutions. The Institute provides accessibility to seminar series, which focus on current research. The Institute Director oversees the joint J.D./M.A. and J.D./Ph.D. in Law and Economics. General inquiries concerning Institute programs and the joint degree programs should be addressed to: Program Director, Institute for Law and Economics, S-225 Law School, 3400 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6204 or email@example.com
Two former research centers, The Center for Analytic Research in Economics (CARESS) and The Center for International Comparison at the University of Pennsylvania (CICUP) were also based here.
CARESS was the main location for theoretical research in the Economics Department. The substantive interests of its members were diverse, spanning the whole range of economics, from classical models of individual behavior to modern theories of economy-wide fluctuations. Its working paper archive is available online.
CICUP contained Penn researchers' long-term involvement in the worldwide International Comparisons Program. Its principal investigators and graduate research assistants, generated, analyzed, and distributed large data sets that make possible comparisons of price structures, quantity compositions, and levels of material well-being of countries, both developing and developed, around the world. All the information previously hosted at Penn is now available at the University of Groningen's Penn World Table site.