The problems of poverty, unemployment and inflation, the benefits and costs of economic growth and development, the economics of the family and education, the impact of government economic policies - these economic issues are central to the welfare of us all. At Cambridge, these issues, and many others, are studied in the Economics Tripos. The Economics Faculty, probably one of the most famous in the world, has always adopted a diverse approach to analysing economic debates and problems. A common feature however has been, and remains, a pragmatic approach to the subject that blends theory with evidence. Here at Cambridge we enjoy looking beyond textbooks to answer challenging problems in the real world.
Faculty website: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/
Economics at St Catharine's has a long and established tradition and provides the best of the Cambridge approach to the subject. There are currently three Fellows responsible for teaching. Dr Sriya Iyer specialises in development economics and applied microeconomics. Dr Simon Taylor specialises in microeconomics, banking and finance. Dr Yujiang River Chen specialises in labour, urban and micro-econometrics.
Other economists in the College include Mr Michael Kitson who specialises in macroeconomic policy, international trade and industrial economics, and Professor Peter Tyler who specialises in applied economics, with a particular focus on the study of labour markets, business performance and urban and regional economics. Eoghan O'Neill is also a College Teaching Associate in Econometrics. Undergraduates at St Catharine's thus have the opportunity to work in a College at the forefront of economic research and policy analysis. The teaching that our undergraduates receive reflects the energy and commitment of an active and influential research community.
During their three years at Catz, undergraduates not only receive supervision from the College's Fellows but also from a wide range of other experts in the University. In common with all other colleges, students attend lectures in the Faculty of Economics, a seven minute walk from the College. Undergraduates are also encouraged to learn from each other, with the College's Fellows always on hand to provide support, advice and encouragement, both academic and pastoral.
Studying Economics at Cambridge, evaluating a range of issues and conflicting arguments, requires access to a wide range of publications. The College library is very well stocked and has been assessed as one of the best in Cambridge. Computing facilities are also good. The College has an active Economics Society which has a regular series of outside speakers. It also holds an Annual Dinner where former students are able to come back to share their experiences with current undergraduates. This gives our students a keen sense of how a degree in Economics has practical relevance to the real world, as well as adding to the experience of studying at Catz.
Admissions tend to average six to seven students a year drawn from a wide range of backgrounds. Applicants offer a wide range of A-level subject combinations in arts and sciences, although (in line with the Faculty's recommendation) we require applicants to have taken, or to be taking, Mathematics at A2 level or equivalent. We do not require candidates to take the STEP examination. Applicants are welcome to consider taking a Part I in Economics followed by another Tripos, although historically not many students have chosen to switch out of Economics; the tendency is for the flow to be the other way around. The College welcomes candidates who wish to spend a year out before starting their studies. Economics candidates are required to sit the pre-interview assessment in Economics, after which they may be called for an interview, where a wide range of issues are discussed relating to economics and the application of economic analysis to real world problems.
There is no special preparation required before applying - we are simply looking for students who are united in their curiosity about the world and have an enthusiasm to tackle difficult issues. There are now a wide range of publications that consider different aspects of economics and economic policy. There are also many interesting websites that provide a wide range of material on economic issues: The Economist and the Financial Times are good for up to date information; those interested in the global economy would find it useful to look at the sites of the World Bank and the IMF; for those interested in the UK, look at the sites of the Bank of England, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, and the UK Treasury. At interview, candidates should expect to be asked a variety of questions relating to current economic issues and problems, as well as to their interests in the subject.
Graduates pursue a wide range of careers including the full range of business-orientated careers for which Economics provides an excellent background. Recent St Catharine's graduates have secured positions in a variety of professions in the City, academia, government and business both in the UK and abroad.
Dr Yujiang River Chen
Yujiang River Chen works on labour economics, urban economics and micro-econometrics. His research is largely empirical and policy-oriented, focusing on the impact of minimum wages on income inequality and unemployment, the agglomeration and sorting of human capital, models of city structure that highlight the rise of the sharing economy, and the application of machine learning techniques in econometrics. He received his BA in Economics from Peking University in China, and his MPhil in Economic Research from the University of Cambridge. He joins St Catharine's as a College Teaching Officer in Economics after studying for his PhD at Christ's College, Cambridge.
Dr Sriya Iyer
Dr Sriya Iyer is Director of Studies in Economics at St Catharine’s College. She is a Janeway Fellow in Economics and Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and a Research Fellow of the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). Her research interests are in development economics and applied microeconomics, focusing particularly on the economics of religion, rationality, economic demography and education. Her research includes papers published on India, Kenya, Brazil, Bangladesh and the USA. She has also published a book on Demography and Religion in India (Oxford University Press, 2002) and has a book forthcoming on The Economics of Religion in India (Harvard University Press, 2018). She is currently working on several projects including religiosity and mental health in the US; political economy in India; economic theories of religion; religion, credit and labour market outcomes in developing countries. Dr Iyer has been at St Catharine’s since 2000. She lectures and supervises on political and sociological aspects of economics for first-year economists, and also development economics, applied microeconomics and the economics of religion for second- and third-year economists at St Catharine’s. She was awarded a University of Cambridge Pilkington Prize for Teaching Excellence in 2014.
Dr Simon Taylor
Simon Taylor was previously elected a Fellow (and Joint College Lecturer in Economics with Girton College) in 1988, but left Cambridge to work in the City of London in 1991. He returned in 2007, as a University Lecturer in Finance at Judge Business School, where he is the Director of the Master of Finance. He was awarded a Pilkington Prize for teaching in 2009 and he teaches Part I microeconomics and Part IIB money and banking. He once again become an official Fellow in Economics in 2016, and in the same year his history of the British nuclear power industry was published.
Catz is a fantastic place to study economics. There is a strongly supportive culture, both between Catz students over all 3 years and with the Fellows. When studying such a wide-ranging and varied subject, it is inevitable that some parts of the course will prove especially challenging for certain people, while being areas of strength for others. But thanks to the bright people around me who are willing to give up their time to help me out, I have been able to achieve far more than I could have alone.The topics in the Economics Tripos cover an enormous breadth of issues, which has allowed me to complement formal models with political and historical context. I have also enjoyed the choice available in second and third year papers, which has allowed me to focus on the areas of economics which are most interesting to me.
Anyone curious about the multifacetedness of human behaviour and willing to approach it in a rigorous, analytical way will feel inspired by economics. The broad scope of the discipline is a testament to the power of economic thinking. At Catz, your interest will be encouraged. The College prides itself on the strength of its working relationships, both within the student body and between the students and teaching Fellows. You can expect a friendly environment amongst your peers, as well as support from the Fellows and students in the years above.
The Catz Economics community is undoubtedly unique, with there being no other subject group within any college that, to my knowledge, is as close-knit, both professionally and socially, as ours.
As a Catz economist, you not only receive guidance and support from some of the most accomplished Fellows that the university has to offer, but also from some of its most intelligent and open undergrads. Students across all three years are always happy to help one another with any work issue that they may have, whether it be a particularly tricky optimisation problem or an elusive essay question. We build each other up rather than compete against each other, helping us to accomplish far more than we expected to when we initially arrived here – and allowing us to form really strong friendships with one another, which is by far my favourite thing about studying Economics at Catz.