Omicron Delta Epsilon Honor Society

What is Omicron Delta Epsilon?


Omicron Delta Epsilon, one of the world’s largest academic honor societies, was created through the merger of two earlier honor societies, Omicron Delta Gamma and Omicron Chi Epsilon. At the time of their merger in 1963 each had 28 chapters, those of the former being primarily located in the Midwestern and Pacific states of the USA, and those of the latter concentrated at colleges and universities along the Eastern Seaboard and in Texas. Omicron Delta Epsilon became an international honor society in economics in 1969. Omicron Delta Epsilon has been a member of the Association of College Honor Societies since 1981.

Omicron Delta Gamma (The Order of Artus) was founded in 1915 by John R. Commons, University of Wisconsin, and Frank Taussig, Harvard University, through the union of the economics societies of their Universities. The intent of the society was the encouragement of a closer academic and social relationship between honor students and faculty on an informal basis, facilitating the exchange of information and views.

Omicron Chi Epsilon was the younger of the two organizations, having been founded in 1955 by Alan A. Brown while he was a student at the City College of New York. From its inception, the society sought to provide means not only to confer suitable honors on the more promising students but also to encourage scholarship through organized meetings and conferences and through the publication of its official journal, THE AMERICAN ECONOMIST, founded in 1957.

Objectives and Activities

The objectives of Omicron Delta Epsilon are recognition of scholastic attainment and the honoring of outstanding achievements in economics; the establishment of closer ties between students and faculty in economics within colleges and universities, and among colleges and universities; the publication of its official journal, THE AMERICAN ECONOMIST, and the sponsoring of panels at professional meetings as well as the Irving Fisher and Frank W. Taussig competitions.


Each year ODE awards THE IRVING FISHER ARTICLE AWARD, which pays $500 and provides an invitation to present the paper at the next annual meeting of the American Economic Association (with travel expenses paid by ODE) and publication of the article in THE AMERICAN ECONOMIST (at the option of the winner). This competition is open to ODE graduate students in economics or those members who have received their Ph.D. or M.A. not more than two years prior to entering the competition.

In addition, ODE annually awards the FRANK W. TAUSSIG UNDERGRADUATE ARTICLE AWARD which pays $250 to the winner and $100 to the winner’s ODE chapter and provides for publication in THE AMERICAN ECONOMIST. This competition is open to undergraduate ODE members in schools with ODE chapters and to ODE members who have received their bachelors degree not more than two years prior to entering the competition.

Biennially, Omicron Delta Epsilon grants the JOHN R. COMMONS AWARD in memory of one of its founders to an internationally outstanding economist in recognition of his or her achievements and service both to the economics profession and to Omicron Delta Epsilon. Previous winners have been: Evsey D. Domar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1965; Arthur Smithies, Harvard University, 1967; Gerhard Tintner, University of Southern California, 1969; Milton Friedman, University of Chicago, 1971; Kenneth J. Arrow, Harvard University, 1973; Robert Solow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1975; William Baumol, New York University and Princeton University, 1977; Abram Bergson, Harvard University, 1979; Arnold Zelner, University of Chicago, 1981; Dale Jorgenson, Harvard University, 1983; Kenneth Boulding, University of Colorado, 1985; Gary S. Becker, University of Chicago, 1987; Martin Feldstein, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1989; and Douglass C. North, Washington University, 1991.


Currently, Omicron Delta Epsilon has 535 chapters located in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Egypt, and France. With such a broad, international base, chapter activities vary widely, ranging from invited speakers, group discussions, dinners, meetings, etc., to special projects such as review sessions and tutoring for students in economics. Omicron Delta Epsilon plays a prominent role in the annual Honors Day celebrations at many colleges and universities.

Admission Procedure

Undergraduate candidates for election to any chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon must have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours of economics courses, have earned at least a B average in the economics courses and have an overall scholastic average of B (GPA of 3.2) or better. They do not necessarily have to be economics majors, but they must have a genuine interest in economics. A life-membership fee is paid by each prospective member of Omicron Delta Epsilon upon his/her election to membership to the Honor Society. In return, the member receives a membership scroll and a one-year subscription (two issues) to THE AMERICAN ECONOMIST. Following the complementary first year’s subscription, members are encouraged to subscribe to THE AMERICAN ECONOMIST. The purchase of the official key (right) or pin by the initiates is optional but encouraged. There are no annual dues.

Why join the Omicron Delta Epsilon?

  • Membership is likely to count on your resume. The Omicron Delta Epsilon is a highly selective international honor society. It is the only honor society in Economics that is recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies. The ODE has chapters in all major American universities. An ODE membership signals a level of achievement and involvement that is far above average. The ODE welcomes students from all disciplines.

  • It is, therefore, no surprise that each ODE member is given special recognition—by name—in each year’s commencement booklet at C.W. Post. This applies to students from all majors.

  • Each member receives ODE’s journal The American Economist for one year (two issues). This journal is so highly regarded that it is indexed in the Journal of Economic Literature, a relatively rare honor. And in spite of its academic stature, The American Economist is accessible to senior undergraduates.

  • National recognition of scholastic achievement in economics.

  • A publication outlet for promising undergraduate and graduate student papers in The American Economist, the Journal of Omicron Delta Epsilon.

  • Closer academic and professional relationships with the faculty at your university and other universities which have ODE chapters.

  • Opportunities to present papers at ODE sponsored meetings at the annual conventions of regional and national associations.

  • Eligibility to compete for the Frank Taussig and Irving Fisher awards (both cash prizes and publication of essays).

  • Eligibility to compete for the Outstanding Student Leader awards.

  • Membership in ODE is life-long.

Who is eligible to join?

To join ODE you must have taken at least 12 credits (4 courses) of Economics by the time of application, and you must have at least a B from your Economics courses and at least a B overall. You do not need to be an economics major. Payment of a $30 lifetime membership fee is required.