Learn about the long history of the QED and some aspects of it today that are not captured by other areas of the website.

Origins of the QED

The roots of the QED are in the Department of Political and Economic Science,  established in 1889 under Adam Shortt, a Queen's graduate who later helped to found the modern Canadian public service.

Queen's economists have played a prominent role in Canadian public policy since at least the 1920s. 

The Department is Established

In 1964 the Political and Economic Science was split in 3 separate units: the QED, the School of Business, and the Department of Political Studies. 

The grew rapidly until the late 1970s, and it soon acquired an international reputation for its graduate programs and research.

The Department's rise to prominence owes a great deal to the appointment of Richard Lipsey in 1970 as the first Sir Edward Peacock Professor of Economics, made possible by substantial bequest from Sir Edward Peacock (1871–1962).

Lipsey, a Canadian who had been a Professor at the London School of Economics, was a leading researcher and writer with an enormous international reputation.  This outstanding appointment helped to attract many excellent junior faculty members and played a key role in the subsequent development of the Department.  

Growth and Excellence

The John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy was created in the early 1980s to foster the tradition of involvement in Canadian public policy. 

Some of the Institute's resources were later used to help create the Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic and Financial Policy, which was held from 1991 to 2012 by Tom Courchene, one of the most active and influential academic contributors to public discussion of economic policy in Canada.

More recently endowments and gifts have established the  Stephen J.R. Smith Chair in Economic Policy, the Douglas D. Purvis Professorship, and Weatherall Visiting Fellowships.

Measuring Success

The QED is well-known internationally for research in a large number of areas, including Macroeconomics, Public Economics, and Econometrics

On RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), the Department ranks third in Canada (behind UBC and Toronto) in the overall ranking,

However, its reputation comes at least as much from its graduates as from its faculty members, but it ranks first (26th in the world) based on the achievements of its former doctoral students. 

  • Among institutions outside the United States, only the LSE, Oxford, Cambridge, and Louvain (CORE) rank higher than Queen's according to this criterion.  [rankings as of August 2019]

One measure of lifetime achievement for a Canadian economist is being elected as the President of the Canadian Economics Association.  This position has been held by no less than eight QED faculty members over the past 48 years:

  • Malcolm Urquhart,
  • Richard Lipsey,
  • Stephan Kaliski,
  • Tom Courchene
  • Robin Boadway
  • James MacKinnon 
  • Gregor Smith
  • Charles Beach. 

Six other CEA Presidents were members of the Department at some point in their careers,

The current CEA President, Scott Taylor , is one of three presidents with Queen's PhD.