History of the IDE Program

In 1955 a new program in International and Foreign Economic Administration (IFEA) began when Professor Robert Triffin saw a need to train economists and statisticians from foreign central banks in international finance. He proposed to the chairman of the department, Lloyd Reynolds, that a master’s level program be established that would give students a grounding in current economic theory and practice and then send them not to universities, but to international organizations. Reynolds helped to set up the program, and in 1961 it became part of the Economic Growth Center.

In 1977 Robert Evenson became director of the IFEA program, a position he held for 25 years. One of his first revisions was to rename the program International and Development Economics, to reflect its shift from a program involving administration to one focusing on economics. Under Professor Evenson’s directorship nearly 500 students obtained master’s degrees, and he is the face many people associate with IDE to this day.

In the past 12 years the IDE program has taken on a more academic focus, with many of our students heading to research and policy analyst positions that require a working knowledge of economics at the graduate level. The program enrolls about 30 students a year, the majority of whom directly come from their undergraduate studies. Many of the IDE students are from non-developed countries, but the key characteristic of all IDE students is that they a strong interest in international and development economics.