Economics Professor Emeritus Lovell Dies at 88

Michael Lovell, Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Sciences, Emeritus, passed away Dec. 20, 2018, at the age of 88.

Lovell received his BA from Reed College, his MA from Stanford University, and his PhD from Harvard University after serving in the Korean War. He came to Wesleyan as a professor of economics in 1969 and remained at Wesleyan for 33 years, until his retirement in 2002.

Lovell had a long and productive scholarly career. His research interests were broad and included topics such as Social Security reform; empirical tests challenging the assumption of rational expectations; a Keynesian theory of forced saving; and how teacher pensions subsidize educational inequality. His first paper, published in 1957 while he was a graduate student, examined the role of the Bank of England as lender of last resort during the 18th century. It is still widely cited today. He continued to publish after his retirement, including articles and a book, Economics with Calculus (Singapore: World Scientific, 2004).

Lovell received numerous fellowships and grants, including three grants from the National Science Foundation. During his career, he served as chair of the Economics Department, as a fellow of the Econometric Society, and as a consultant to the Council of Economic Advisers, and he was a senior advisor to the Brookings Panel on Economic Activity from 1974 to 1990. In 2011 the Lebergott-Lovell Prize was established to honor him and the late Stanley Lebergott, who had also held the title of Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Sciences.

“Mike Lovell was an eminent economist, adept in both theoretical and empirical fields, who would not have been out of place in any of the world’s leading economics departments,” said Professor of Economics Richard Grossman.

His colleague, Dick Miller, Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, Emeritus, met Lovell in 1959 at Yale’s Department of Economics. “For two years while he was at Yale he taught the calculus-based introductory course at Wesleyan,” Miller recalls. “In 1969, he left Carnegie Mellon to (re)join the Wesleyan Economics Department, now full time. He was highly respected as a teacher and researcher—his initial contributions were in the area of the macroeconomics of inventories. He was a valued friend and colleague for six decades.”

Lovell is survived by his wife, Adrienne; their four children: Leslie, Stacie, George, and Martin and their spouses; and eight grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ( or 1-888-567-ACLU), the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation ( or 1800-259-4636), or the Legal Defense and Education Fund of the NAACP or 212-965-2232).