The Economic Growth Center was founded at Yale with funding 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 management of the International Foreign Economic Administration (IFEA) 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. The IFEA program was renamed the International and Development Economics (IDE) program in 1979 and EGC continues to host the 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. Explore the articles below, and subscribe to our mailing list for notifications of Anniversary publications and events.

Documenting the rich history of the EGC

The International and Foreign Economic Administration (IFEA) program and the roots of EGC

The EGC Spring 2021 Quarterly Newsletter recounts the 1951 origins of the IFEA program – a precursor to today’s International and Development Economics (IDE) masters program – and how it paved the way for the EGC.

Pioneering women at EGC and Yale Economics

The outstanding lives and careers of women who helped found EGC and demanded greater equality in the profession – profiled in a series by Lisa Qian '20, former EGC Communications Intern.

The founding of EGC, and the Country Studies Program

In the decade following EGC's founding in 1961, a group of young economists sought to understand the determinants of growth by visiting and analyzing developing countries.

Latin American economists at EGC in the 1960s and 70s

Prominent Latin American economists – some having been forced out of their positions in their home countries by repressive regimes – found an intellectual home at EGC in the 60s and 70s. A series of articles by EGC Communications Interns Lisa Qian and Aiden Lee tells their stories.

EGC 50th Anniversary Celebration

The Center celebrated its 50th Anniversary on November 11, 2011. This page features photos from the event, and a recording of Gustav Ranis, EGC Director 1967-1975 and 1992-93, recounting EGC's history.

Get involved with the EGC 60th Anniversary celebration

Throughout 2021, we will continue to publish articles on the history of the Center and the international community of researchers it has trained and supported. To keep abreast of our publications and events, subscribe to the EGC Mailing List and follow #EGCat60 on social media. And if you have information on EGC history you would like to share, please contact us.