Assuming you have funding there, I'd agree with your first instincts at go to UIUC.
I have been admitted at the following unis:
U Illinois UC
U New Mexico
I also have really good chances with Colorado Boulder and Wyoming.
I want to go into environmental and development economics. UIUC is definitely the best ranked uni in economics and it has a pretty good placement, while all the others are much more specialized in environmental and development econ, but seem to not fare just as well with placement (except Colorado). I'm thinking probably UIUC would give me the best chance to actually teach at any of those unis after the PhD and that a higher ranked uni is better in general for reputation, but on the other side those other unis do have a strong emphasis on the branches I like the most.
Which one should I accept?
Thanks to anyone willing to help!
I don't know much about these departments, so take my advice with a grain of salt.
My advice is to look for faculties in your field of interest: ENV and DEV. You can try checking the following links to get a rough idea.
Economics Field Rankings: Environmental Economics | IDEAS/RePEc
I skim through authors name and it seems UIUC would be the best fit (more precisely look at Don Fullerton). And congrats on your offers!
One thing that I would not do is use rankings. They have their place, but are imperfect. If you've narrowed down your selection to three choices, you have much more information than you think. First, start by writing down the faculty who work in your fields of interest in these schools. Assess whether they regularly publish in good journals. Assess whether they work with graduate students. Talk with current graduate students in your field of interest at each school and ask them what they like about their program, what they don't like, whether they enjoy working with the professors in that field.
Case in point: Don Fullerton is in the business school, not economics department, and is away from campus for a good part of the year. He's otherwise a wonderful, smart guy and happy to talk with economics students. But you want to figure out this type of information.
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