Stanley Lebergott, the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Sciences, Emeritus, died July 24 after a long illness. He was 91 years old.
Lebergott began his career as a public servant, working for 20 years in the U.S. Department of Labor, the International Labor Office, and the U.S. Bureau of the Budget. He joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1962 as a professor of economics, becoming University Professor in 1970.
He was a pivotal scholar in his field, and a prolific author. In addition to more than 50 articles, his books include: Manpower in Economic Growth: The American Record Since 1800 (McGraw Hill, 1964); Men Without Work (Prentice Hall, 1964); The American Economy: Income, Wealth, and Want (Princeton, 1976); The Americans: An Economic Record (Norton, 1984); Pursuing Happiness: American Consumers in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, 1993); and Consumer Expenditures: New Measures and Old Motives (Princeton, 1996).
His colleague at Wesleyan, Peter Kilby, professor of economics, emeritus, wrote about Lebergott’s scholarship: “The Lebergott scholarly paradigm is a distinctive one. The conventional paradigm entails placing the problem in context, reviewing the ruling interpretations, setting out an appropriately specified model, and concluding with an evaluation of econometric results. Lebergott, by contrast, moves directly to the quiddity of the problem itself. With unusual clarity of vision he isolates three or four key ingredients, and then proceeds with shattering simplicity to conceive a single measure—typically one painstakingly constructed from unconventional sources—that captures the direction and force of the underlying cause.”
Lebergott is survived by his wife, Ruth, and daughter, Karen.
A memorial service will be planned for fall. In lieu of flowers, his family prefers donations to the scholarship being established in his memory at Wesleyan University. Memorial gifts may be sent to Wesleyan University, 318 High Street, Middletown, CT 06459.
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