Quantitative Economics as an Option for Graduate Studies

The following article was contributed by Prof. Debasis Mishra of the Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi as part of a campus recruitment initiative for an Master of Science programme in Quantitative Economics. For a very well written paper on the subject by Prof. Mishra with illustrative examples from the real world, click here.

What is Quantitative Economics?

Quantitative economics is a field of study where mathematics, in particular optimization, statistics, algorithms and complexity theory is used as a tool for analyzing and designing economic systems.

Quantitative economics is used in auctions to maximize bidders’ payoffs. Banking policies are based on fundamentals of quantitative economics and are covered systematically in macroeconomics and finance. Econometrics, which involves collecting appropriate economic data and analyzing it statistically, is a major component of quantitative economics because of its widespread applicability in government policies.

MSQE at ISI Delhi – Course Structure

ISI Delhi offers one of the best graduate programs in quantitative economics in India. The MSQE program is offered by the ‘Planning Unit’ department of ISI Delhi (http://www.isid.ac.in/~pu). Some features of this program are:

Curriculum: Courses are taught in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, game theory, finance, development economics, social choice and welfare, and many other advanced topics. A unique feature of all our courses is the focus on mathematical reasoning and analysis.

Small batch size: The batches in the MSQE program are only 15 strong. This ensures an excellent student to faculty ratio. Students from all backgrounds (pure science, engineering, economics and statistics etc) are encouraged to apply.

Excellent placement: Campus placements are close to 95%. Employers typically include banks and financial institutions. One of the main attractions of the MSQE program is the opportunity to pursue further studies. Usually, half of the students in the course pursue doctoral studies at top universities like Columbia, New York University (NYU), CalTech among other US and European Universities.

How to Get There

Deadline for applications:March 1 2010

For detailed information on the admission procedure, contact JRF coordinator Chetan Ghate (cghate [at] isid.ac.in).

An entrance test for the MSQE program is usually held in May every year. The entrance test is a one-day event with two papers. The first paper is on JEE-level Mathematics and the second paper on UG level Economics. Sample questions are available on the ISI website. A round of interviews follows for students selected on the basis of Entrance Test marks. For students who do not have a background of economics, scores in the Mathematics paper are emphasized.

Quantitative economics is an interdisciplinary field, linking economics with mathematics, statistics, and computer science. The analytical nature of this field makes it a worthy candidate for IIT undergraduates to consider it for higher studies. This opens up many career doors – in banking and finance, government policy, academics, consulting etc and hence makes for an interesting and rewarding experience on the road less taken.

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