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Centered on Economics

Monday, February 6, 2017

PURCE Rendering

The Purdue University Research Center in Economics (PURCE), a fast-growing initiative in need of space, will soon have a new home in the Krannert School of Management to conduct empirical research in economics focused on the role of incentives and markets in public policy.

PURCE launched nearly three years ago under the direction of John Umbeck, a professor of economics, and Jack Barron, the Loeb Professor of Economics and a former department head of economics, with support from the current department head, Justin Tobias.

PURCE has grown rapidly because of philanthropic giving that has supported the center’s economic research mission. After receiving initial seed money from faculty who personally donated to the new center, the initiative has received several million dollars in contributions from more than six foundations and half a dozen alumni, including Krannert alumnus Steven A. Webster and his wife, Linda.

Another contributor to the rapid rise of PURCE was a decision to make the long-established Purdue Center for Economic Education a division of PURCE. For many years in Indiana, PCEE has conducted research on the economic literacy of students, teachers and the public. It also has provided courses and workshops for K-12 educators who want to better incorporate economic concepts into their classrooms, having provided training to 100 teachers in the greater Lafayette area in the last year.

Renovation for PURCE’s new location on the third floor of the Krannert Building began in early November and is expected to conclude in fall of 2017.

“The momentum behind economics research of all types at Purdue is really thrilling,” says David Hummels, dean of the Krannert School. “Faculty who are affiliated with PURCE are excited to have a place to collaborate on their research and to mentor students.”

Umbeck says he plans to make the center’s research accessible even to those who are not the typical readers of scholarly economic research publications.

“Our goal is to increase the economic literacy of the state and country,” he says. “Part of our mission will be to translate our research into unbiased data analysis that policymakers, educators and Americans can use to raise the level of discourse in our democracy.”

Tobias, the current department head, says the center will fill a critical national need.

“As much as any discipline, economics offers hope to address the many public policy challenges facing our nation,” he says. “PURCE will add an empirically rigorous voice to the study of policy issues and will help us grow our faculty presence and reputation in this area.”

More information on the Purdue University Research Center in Economics is available at To learn more about the Purdue Center for Economic Education, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, visit