The International Economics Section (formerly the International Finance Section) was established in 1930 as an affiliate of Princeton’s Department of Economics. Its purpose is to promote research and training in international economics. The Section was funded initially by a gift in memory of James Theodore Walker, Class of 1927, which was supplemented by other gifts and by a contribution from the General Endowment of the University. The income from the Walker Foundation is used to finance the Walker Professorship of Economics and International Finance, as well as the operating expenses of the International Economics Section.
Edwin W. Kemmerer, the first Walker Professor, also served as the first Director of the Section. Frank Graham, who became Walker Professor in 1945, and Jacob Viner, who followed in 1950, chose not to assume the directorship of the Section. That position was filled by Gardner Patterson, who served from 1949 to 1958, and by Lester Chandler, who served from 1958 to 1960. When Fritz Machlup became Walker Professor in 1960, the two positions were reunited. Professor Machlup held both of them until his retirement in 1971. Peter B. Kenen, the fifth Walker Professor, directed the Section from 1971 to 1999. Gene M. Grossman, Jacob Viner Professor of International Economics, has been Director since 1999.
The Section is well known for its publications. From 1943 to 2001, the Section published short monographs and policy essays in four series: Essays in International Economics (previously Essays in International Finance), Princeton Studies in International Economics (previously Princeton Studies in International Finance), Special Papers in International Economics, and Reprints in International Finance. The Essays disseminated new views about international events and policy issues. The Studies and Special Papers reported new research in international economics or provided synthetic treatments of a body of literature. The Reprints contained previously published articles by faculty affiliates of the Section.
The Section supports research by faculty and students at Princeton University and sponsors a weekly research seminar in international economics for members of the Department of Economics. It awards annually the Avinash K. Dixit Prize in International Economics to one or more graduate students who have excelled in their studies of international trade or international macroeconomics. The Section convenes an annual Summer Workshop in Trade that brings to the Princeton campus a group of leading international trade economists from around the world for three days of discussion and evaluation of frontier research.
The Section hosts one or more Visiting Fellows each year. The Kenen Fellows and Postdoctoral Fellows spend an academic year in residence at Princeton, conducting their own research on topics in international economics and participating in the intellectual life of the Section and the Department of Economics.
The Section does not offer any courses of its own, although all of its faculty affiliates teach in the Department of Economics and are available for consultation by students doing research in the general area of international economics. Information about Princeton’s course offerings in international economics is available on the department’s home page.