Alberto Alesina passed away last May, at the age of sixty-three. It will take me a long time to get over the shock and pain of his death, but I wanted to share some thoughts about this most intelligent of scholars and most generous of human beings.
I first met Alberto over thirty years ago. Guido Tabellini was then my colleague in economics (I was in political science) at UCLA, and he and Alberto were collaborating on their pathbreaking work on the political economy of macroeconomic policy. For a variety of reasons, Alberto was a frequent visitor to UCLA. We became friends almost immediately. We were young assistant professors then, on something of a crusade to establish political economy in both economics and political science. (There was a fine group of like-minded scholars in both departments at UCLA at the time, including David Dollar, Sebastian Edwards, Jack Hirshleifer, Ken Sokoloff, and Ed Leamer in economics; and Barbara Geddes, David Lake, Ron Rogowski, George Tsebelis, and Michael Wallerstein in political science.) The study of politics, especially in political science, had been dominated by what was called “behavioralism,” which focused on how cultural and psychological factors determined political behavior. In those early days of political economy, one of our principal goals was to show how this focus limited our understanding of politics, and how central economic interests were to political activity. It is paradoxical that in recent years Alberto and his many collaborators have worked hard to bring cultural and psychological factors back into political economy—a fact that demonstrates both his versatility and his willingness to entertain a vast array of factors in explaining our complex world. Read more on Centerpiece: https://wcfia.harvard.edu/publications/centerpiece/fall2020/in_memoriam
Richard N. Cooper, the Maurits C. Boas Professor of International Economics at Harvard University, passed away on December 23, 2020, at age eighty-six. He was a longtime Weatherhead Center affiliate—as a Faculty Associate since 1981; on the executive committee from...
Ezra Vogel, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University, passed away on December 20, 2020, at age ninety. He was the founding director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, and served in that capacity from 1980 to 1987....
Dov Ronen, political scientist and Holocaust survivor, passed away on July 30, 2021. After completing his PhD in 1969, Ronen was affiliated with several universities, including Purdue and Tufts, along with Harvard. In addition to his memoir, What on Earth Am I Doing Here?... Read more about In Memoriam: Dov Ronen, 1933–2021
James Sidanius, John Lindsley Professor of Psychology in Memory of William James and professor of African and African American studies at Harvard University, passed away on June 29, 2021, at age 75. Sidanius became a Faculty Associate in 2017, after joining the Harvard faculty in 2006. Much of... Read more about In Memoriam: James H. Sidanius, 1945–2021
Theodore C. Bestor, Reischauer Institute Professor of Social Anthropology at Harvard University, passed away on July 1, 2021, at age 69. Bestor—widely known for his scholarship on Japanese urban life, markets, and food culture—was a Faculty Associate since 2007, and joined the Harvard... Read more about In Memoriam: Theodore C. “Ted” Bestor, 1951–2021
John Ruggie, Berthold Beitz Research Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, passed away on September 16, 2021, at age 76. Ruggie was a Faculty Associate emeritus since 2002. One of his greatest contributions as a thought leader in human rights and social... Read more about In Memoriam: John Ruggie, 1944–2021
Ira Kukin, the founding benefactor of The Harvard Academy, died in New Jersey at the age of 93 on May 17, 2017. The Jewish saying “may his memory be a blessing” is, in this case, particularly appropriate. A great many scholars have benefitted from Ira Kukin’s generosity and vision....
Stanley Hoffmann, WCFIA Faculty Associate and Harvard scholar of international relations and French politics, dies at 86.
The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs mourns the loss of Stanley Hoffmann, a Faculty Associate, who died in his sleep at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 13, 2015. He was eighty-six and is survived by his wife, Inge Schneier Hoffmann.