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April 16, 2018

Jim Morgan: In Memoriam

Jim MorganJames N. Morgan, an economist who created the longest-running intergenerational household survey in the world, died January 8 at University of Michigan Hospital. He was 99 and lived in Ann Arbor.

Morgan was a great believer in new ideas and worked with other economists, such as Nobel Prize winner James Tobin, on issues of income and income support systems. As a young scholar he was interested in the factors shaping various outcomes such as how much a family spent on housing, factors leading to early retirement or nonmarket activity and other forms of
home allocation. His work challenged the prevailing belief that those in poverty were destined to stay in poverty, arguing instead that the majority of poor families emerge from bad times and achieve middle income status.

'Jim's intellectual energy was enormous. It fueled a wealth of path-breaking contributions to our understanding of the world, and introduced new methods for generating more knowledge and deepening that understanding,' says Morgan's former student turned long-time colleague, Greg Duncan, professor of education at University of California, Irvine. 'But Jim also displayed a lifelong commitment to an analytical form of social justice, which triggered many acts of kindness as well as windmill tilting.'

Please read more about Jim Morgan's distinguished career, and his personal and professional impact on those who worked with him: Jim Morgan: In Memoriam (PDF)