Published September 13, 2019
How should one remember Martin Weitzman, long a professor of economics at Harvard, who sadly took his own life last month?
As a skilled mathematician who translated insights from the hard sciences into analyses of public policy that were accessible to all (or to many, anyway)? As a specialist on the economics of climate change who laid out the theoretical foundations for market-based responses to greenhouse gas emissions, and inspired colleagues to think concretely about planning for the unthinkable? As a restless genius whose dabbling in incentive structures for labor markets led The New York Times editorial board to label his “aha” insight into the impact of revenue sharing as “the best idea since Keynes”? As the most admired modern economist who never won a Nobel Prize? As an unpretentious teacher and colleague who never let his intellectual achievements go to his head — or even bothered to unlearn his working-class New York accent?
Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.
Marty, we wish so much that you’d stuck around a while longer. For a remembrance from Marty's co-author, Gernot Wagner, who knew him and his work very well, try https://gwagner.com/marty-weitzman-in-memoriam/.