Economics Professor Dale Mortensen dies at 74

    Dale Mortensen, Board of Trustees Professor of Economics and a Nobel laureate, died this morning surrounded by family members, according to a press release. He was 74.

    Mortensen had been teaching at Northwestern since 1965, and he received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2010. He shared the prize with Peter Diamond of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Christopher Pissarides of the London School of Economics.

    “On behalf of the entire Northwestern community, I extend my deep condolences to Professor Mortensen’s family,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “He will be deeply missed by his colleagues at Northwestern – and by the world. His groundbreaking work is especially relevant to policymakers attempting to address unemployment today.”

    Professor Mortensen’s research helped revolutionize labor economics. Macroeconomists have cited his theory as fundamental in understanding changes in unemployment.

    “He was a talented teacher and adviser of graduate students, and many of his Ph.D. students have gone on to become successful professors,” said Robert Gordon, Stanley G. Harris Professor of the Social Sciences. “He was universally liked and admired … He will be missed both for his academic achievements – the potential he had for additional insights – and also more, the impact he had on Northwestern community.”

    According to Gordon, Mortensen helped invent modern macroeconomics.

    "Dale was my advisor and friend and became my collaborator ever since I graduated up until now," said Rasmus Lentz, associate economics professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison who completed his Ph.D. in economics at Northwestern under Professor Mortensen. "He meant an awful lot to me."

    "He had a great life and he leaves behind a lot of people that will miss him terribly," he said.

    Professor Mortensen is survived by his wife, two brothers, three children and eight grandchildren. His wife, Beverly, is professor at Northwestern who is a scholar of ancient Judaism and contemporary religious thought.

    Private services for the family will be held, and the date of the public memorial will be announced later.


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