The Economic Growth Center was founded at Yale with financial assistance from the Ford Foundation in 1961. The Center's first Annual Report gives an account of its origins:

Several years ago Professor Simon Kuznets proposed the establishment of a permanent research center for quantitative, comparative analysis of the long-term growth of national economies. Such a center, it was believed, could serve a variety of purposes: development of improved concepts of economic measurement; establishment of higher standards of workmanship in governmental statistical agencies and in research organizations; refinement and standardization of key measurements for many economies over extended periods of time; and the use of this material to test hypotheses about economic growth.

-EGC Annual Report, May 1962

Alongside this research agenda, EGC would serve as a training ground for future development researchers and policy practitioners. The Center took over the International Foreign Economic Administration program – a program for international students that had been in existence since 1955 – and revised it to incorporate the Center's quantitative focus. The IFEA program brought young economists and statisticians employed in public service in their home countries to Yale to receive a year of advanced training. EGC continues to host the International Development Economics (IDE) one-year masters program.

Today EGC researchers are applying rigorous methods to understand not only the links between economic growth and poverty, but also how rising inequality and a changing climate affects individual wellbeing, especially among marginalized groups in developing countries.

The 2020–21 academic year marks the Center's 60th anniversary, and to celebrate, we are documenting its history and researching the contributions EGC community members have made to scholarship and policy around the world. Scroll to the bottom of this page to get involved.

Honoring the women who shaped EGC and Yale Economics

Lisa Qian '20, an economics major and EGC intern, researched the outstanding lives and careers of women who helped found EGC and demanded greater equality in the profession.

Telling the EGC story

A brief history of EGC

Gustav Ranis was Associate Director of EGC at its founding in 1961, and served as director 1967–1975 and 1992–1993. He spoke about the Center's history at the 50th Anniversary celebration in 2011.

Help us research the international development contributions of EGC alumni

Throughout its 60-year history, EGC has provided opportunities for international development researchers and practitioners to come to Yale for periods of study and research. We are gathering information on the contributions they made to scholarship and policy in their home countries and internationally. Click the link below to get involved.