The NBER Reporter 2019 Number 2: News
Martin Feldstein, 1939–2019
Renowned Economist and NBER President Emeritus
Martin Feldstein, president of the NBER for nearly 30 years, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University, chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984, and one of the most prolific and influential economists of the last half century, passed away on Tuesday, June 11. He was 79.
Feldstein's leadership of the NBER had a profound and lasting effect on applied economic research. He was appointed president of the NBER in 1977 and, aside from his years of CEA service, served in this role until 2008. He transformed the organization and created the network structure that today encompasses nearly 1,600 affiliated scholars. He moved the NBER headquarters from New York City to Cambridge, launched the NBER Summer Institute and regular meetings of program groups, and promoted NBER working papers as an important channel for dissemination of economic research. Feldstein recognized the value of enhanced communication, at conferences and through sharing pre-publication manuscripts, in advancing research progress. He authored or coauthored 165 NBER working papers and edited 19 NBER books.
Feldstein pioneered the use of data collected from household surveys and corporate databases to study a wide range of questions in public policy. He played a key role in shaping the modern fields of public and health economics. His dissertation, which analyzed the efficiency of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, helped launch the field of health economics. His research on Social Security and unemployment insurance called attention to the effect of these programs on saving, retirement, and labor supply. He documented the way taxes affect the behavior of households and firms, focusing in particular on how taxes on investment and saving could discourage capital accumulation and slow long-term economic growth.
Feldstein graduated from Harvard College in 1961 and received his D.Phil. in Economics from Oxford University, where he was an Official Fellow of Nuffield College. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1967, became a tenured professor of economics in 1969, and was appointed the George F. Baker Professor of Economics in 1984. For over two decades, he taught an introductory economics course, "Social Analysis 10" or "Ec 10," which was often the largest undergraduate course at Harvard College. He was also a celebrated graduate teacher and dissertation adviser. Many of his students have gone on to influential careers in academia and public policy making.
In 1977, Feldstein received the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, an award presented to an economist under the age of 40 judged to have made the greatest contribution to economic science. In recognizing the breadth of Feldstein's work, the prize citation described his research as "covering an astonishing array of economic methods and problems." He served as president of the American Economic Association in 2004.
Feldstein played an active role in public policy discussions for more than four decades. In addition to chairing President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, he served on President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He was a trustee of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Group of 30, and a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal. He wrote broadly on economic policy issues.
Feldstein was widely celebrated for his academic accomplishments. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy, the Econometric Society, and the National Association of Business Economists, and was the recipient of several honorary degrees. Feldstein is survived by his wife, Kathleen, also an economist, two daughters, and four grandchildren.
The NBER is collecting remembrances from those who would like to acknowledge Martin Feldstein's contributions and influence, but have not otherwise contacted the Feldstein family. Please send such messages, ideally as an email attachment, on letterhead, and limited to a single page, to Ms. Debby Nicholson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Reports on Martin Feldstein's Life
[back to top]
John S. Clarkeson, 1942–2019
John S. Clarkeson, who was elected as an at-large member of the NBER Board of Directors in 2001 and served as vice-chair
from 2005 until 2008 and board chair from 2008 until 2011, passed away unexpectedly in May after a brief illness. He was 76.
Clarkeson, who graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Business School, spent his career of more than 40
years at the Boston Consulting Group, including a highly successful time as CEO between 1986 and 1997. On his watch,
the firm grew from about 300 to more than 3000 employees worldwide, and became established as one of the world's
Clarkeson was an active member of the NBER board and a long-serving member of its executive and nominating
committees. He played an especially significant role in advancing the conflict of interest disclosure policy for NBER affiliates. He was also a trustee of INSEAD, Wellesley College, and the Educational Testing Service, and a board member at a number of firms. He was honored by
the New England chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors as its "Director of the Year for Corporate Governance" in 2016.
[back to top]
New Research Associates, Faculty Research Fellows Named
The NBER Board of Directors appointed 14 research associates at its April 2019 meeting. New research associates, who must be tenured faculty members at North American colleges or universities, are recommended to the board by the directors of the NBER's 20 research programs, typically after consultation with a steering committee of leading scholars in the program area. Two of the new research associates were previously faculty research fellows.
Faculty research fellows, who are appointed by the NBER president, must hold primary academic appointments in North America. They also are recommended by program directors and their steering committees in the culmination of a highly competitive process that begins with a call for nominations in January. Candidates are evaluated based on their research records and their capacity to contribute to the NBER's activities. This year, 246 researchers were nominated for faculty research fellowships; 47 were appointed.
The 61 newly-appointed researchers are affiliated with 35 different colleges and universities. They completed graduate studies at 29 different institutions. On May 1, there were 1,219 NBER research associates and 345 faculty research fellows.
The newly appointed researchers, their universities, and their NBER program affiliations, are listed below. Entries in italics indicate research associates who were promoted from the rank of faculty research fellows.
Faculty Research Fellows
[back to top]