Leland Yeager, RIP
Further update below
The great economist Leland Yeager died yesterday. He was not just a great economist but also a great man.
Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen have written two nice obits. So have Don Boudreaux and David Gordon. Also, Kurt Schuler wrote a nice appreciation of Leland on the occasion of his 90th birthday. Coincidentally, I wrote last week of something I learned from Leland in civil debate.
Here’s a reminiscence of an issue he raised at the second annual Austrian Economics Conference and a longer reminiscence that’s more focused on Leland.
Here is an amazing story from Vance Armor, a friend on Facebook:
So here is a Leland Yeager story Bill Breit told me. Back in the 1970s when Breit, Yeager were teaching at U. Va they happened upon each other at a conference in Atlanta. Breit was surprised to see Yeager there. Yeager and Breit got to talking and Breit took a taxi to the airport. Yeager joined him and they continued their endless conversation. Breit checked in and got his ticket. Yeager got his ticket, and they continued their conversation on the plane. They landed at Dulles and then Yeager leaves the terminal and walks with Breit, still continuing the conversation, and says “Where did I park my car?” Breit and Yeager search the parking lot for MORE THAN AN HOUR and Yeager is convinced his car was stolen. He walks to a phone booth ready to call the police. Just as he lifts the receiver on the phone he has an epiphany, “Oh, I drove to Atlanta!”
Steve Hanke, who was in touch with Leland way more recently than I, has a nice homage to him here.
Apr 24 2018 at 7:36pm
Sad to hear this–his work had an influence on my own research.
I only met him once—he was extremely courteous.
David R Henderson
Apr 24 2018 at 7:44pm
Yes. Old-school gentleman.
BTW, Scott, GREAT post this morning. I had been thinking similar things but you said it so much better than I ever would have. You also made it understandable why non-economist faculty want to relegate us to macro. I had never understood why and I think yours is the most likely explanation.
Apr 24 2018 at 10:04pm
Thanks, David, for remembering Leland. Although, given his personality, he was constitutionally unable to realize the fact, Leland had enormous influence and positive impact on his students – influence and positive impact that not 1 in 1,000 economics professors can realistically dream of having.
Apr 24 2018 at 10:26pm
I first encountered Yeager in my PhD macro course last spring. Monetary economics always makes my head spin, but his writing was so clear and careful, I was able to follow him with minimal effort. He was a great economist and will be missed.
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