Robert W. Fogel, 1926-2013

It is with great sadness that we share the news that we have lost an outstanding scholar and a very dear friend: Robert W. Fogel, Director of the Center for Population Economics at the University of Chicago and Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of American Institutions at Chicago Booth, passed away June 11, 2013 after a brief illness.

A leading advocate of the use of quantitative methods in history, Bob taught at Booth from 1963 to 1975, and later, fortunately for us, returned to Chicago from Harvard University in 1981. He headed the Center for Population Economics, and he wrote extensively on the topic of economics and aging.

During his career, Bob wrote 22 books — the most recent, “Political Arithmetic: Simon Kuznets and the Empirical Tradition in Economics,” was released in April — and was writing three more at the time of his death. He also published 90 papers in academic journals.

He was the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1993, “for having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change,” according to the Nobel citation. The Academy called his study of railroads and American economic growth a “scientific breakthrough.”

Bob was preceded in death in 2007 by Enid M. Fogel, retired associate dean of students at Booth. Together, Bob and Enid are remembered for their contributions to expanding diversity at Booth and promoting the Executive MBA Program abroad. Bob often credited Enid’s work as a researcher for contributing to his success.

The entire University community mourns with his sons, Michael and Steven, five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and numerous friends and colleagues.

Burial will be private. A memorial service for the University community will be planned on campus over the summer. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to Equip for Equality, a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of the disabled. Letters of condolence may be sent care of: Center for Population Economics, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637.

Carol Bridgeman
Webmaster and Outreach Initiatives Supervisor Center for Population Economics The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
773-753-0888 tel
773-753-0810 fax
carol.bridgeman [at]

[Cross-posted, with thanks, from EH-Net]