The UC Santa Cruz Economics Department was ranked seventh in the world in July -- and sixth among all academic institutions -- for research in international finance, according to an analysis of research papers. Only the University of Chicago, MIT, UC Berkeley, and Harvard University and its Kennedy School of Government ranked higher. The International Monetary Fund was ranked third.

Among monetary economists, the UCSC Economics Department ranked 24th globally – 10th among academic departments when central bank research departments were excluded.

The rankings, which are updated monthly, come from a Web site and group called Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), a collaborative effort of hundreds of volunteers in 71 countries whose goal is to enhance the dissemination of research in economics. The heart of the project is a decentralized database of working papers, journal articles, and software components.

The criteria are complicated and rankings can change often, said Carl Walsh, distinguished professor of economics and department chair at UC Santa Cruz. But, he said, they show "that UCSC has firmly established itself as one of the global centers for research in the area of international finance.

He added that UCSC's "strength in monetary economics is one of the reasons we are increasingly becoming a place that international central banks send their young economists to be trained."

The Web site lists four UCSC economists -- professors Joshua Aizenman, Yin-Wong Cheung, Michael Dooley, and Michael Hutchison -- among the top 5 percent of the 1,260 economists in international finance who register with the site. Walsh was ranked 42nd in the world among the 1,800 registered monetary economists. (Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke was first.)

RePEc is coordinated by an associate professor of economics at the University of Connecticut. The group's volunteers use 31 ways of ranking authors including number of papers, citations, and impact factors, drawing from the comprehensive database including 360,000 working papers and 560,000 journal articles.

Almost 22,000 economists are registered with RePEc. The rankings are based in part on citations that are compiled automatically from all documents in the RePEc library.

Faculty research at UCSC focuses on global economics. The Santa Cruz Institute for International Economics (SCIIE) sponsors research, conferences, and scholarly exchanges. The campus's doctoral program in international economics awarded its first Ph.D. in 1992.