Harvard University (photo: Tim Sackton)
(posted Fall 2011)

U.S. News & World Report just released their review of colleges and universities.  This does not include international universities, and naturally there are incredibly good universities abroad that compete with these schools as well.  The London School of Economics and Cambridge University are both top schools by any measure.  The main thing to remember is that this is a very generalised list for an incredibly diverse field.  So if you want to go for agricultural economics, you would choose a very different program than if you wanted to go for labor economics.  The important factor is not the school, but actually individual professors.  This would be most crucial for individuals seeking a doctorate.

1)   Harvard University
1)   M.I.T.
1)   Princeton University
1)   University of Chicago
5)   Stanford University
6)   University of California - Berkeley
6)   Yale University
8)   Northwestern University
9)   University of Pennsylvania
10) Columbia University
10) University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
12) New York University
12) University of Michigan
14) Cal. Tech.
14) UCLA
14) University of California - San Diego
14) University of Wisconsin - Madison
18) Cornell University
19) Brown University
19) Carnegie Mellow University
19) Duke University
22) University of Maryland - College Park
22) University of Rochester
24) Boston University
25) Johns Hopkins University
59) George Mason University

University of Chicago

Here's the current* rankings from IDEAS, which aggregates research papers, citations and academic items like that.  I've isolated these to economic departments at colleges and universities, but they also include other research institutions such as the World Bank.  This is an international list, but it is simply a ranking of research, and not of any other elements within an institution of higher learning.  This might be a very useful list for potential doctoral students, but each program should be scrutinized for specialties.

1)   Harvard University
2)   University of Chicago
3)   M.I.T.
4)   London School of Economics
5)   University of California - Berkeley
6)   Princeton University
7)   Oxford University
8)   New York University
9)   Columbia University
10) Stanford University
11) University of Barcelona
12) Toulouse School of Economics
13) Boston University
14) Yale University
15) Northwestern University
16) University of Pennsylvania
17) University of Michigan
18) Paris School of Economics
19) University of California - San Diego
20) Brown University
21) UCLA
22) Universiteit van Tilburg
23) University of Cambridge
24) Dartmouth College
25) University of Warwick

(* current as of 9/18/11)