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Remembering Jim Morgan, founding member of ISR and creator of the PSID

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Mon, Jan 22, 2018, noon: Narayan Sastry

story art

Remembering Jim Morgan, founding member of ISR and creator of the PSID

PSC Announcement

01/10/2018

ISR Director David Lam on Jim Morgan's passing:

"I regret to inform you that Jim Morgan passed away last night at the age of 99, just 7 weeks short of his 100th birthday.

Jim came to the University of Michigan in 1949 as a postdoctoral fellow in economics, and was one of the founding members of ISR. He retired in 1997 as a research scientist emeritus and professor emeritus of economics.

One of Jim's major contributions to ISR and the social science community was the creation of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) in 1968. PSID is the longest-running intergenerational household survey in the world, and is heavily used by researchers in a wide range of fields. Although originally designed as a five-year project, the PSID study proved to be a vital and increasingly far-reaching social science data resource. PSID has continuously collected data covering employment, income, wealth, expenditures, health, marriage, and other topics.  It is now following more than 65,000 members across four generations of some 8,000 families. In addition, it has served as the model for intergenerational studies in countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Australia, Singapore, and China.

....Jim published extensively over his career, writing on topics including consumer behavior; the distribution of income and wealth; the dynamics of income change; economic survey methods; retirement, philanthropy, and mobility decisions; housing status; and productive non-market activity. 

Jim was a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. In 1975 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He was also a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Gerontological Society of America, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The University of Michigan gave him the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award in 1977.

After retirement, Jim continued to be a regular presence at ISR and the university, and he regularly wrote on economic issues of particular concern, such as income inequality. In 2013 he set up a fund at ISR in his name to support graduate students in making innovative use of SEARCH, an innovative data analysis program he created in the 1960s.

Jim is survived by four children, Ken, Tim, Salim, and Janet; 10 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.

....We are working with Jim's family to schedule a memorial jointly with ISR. Details about the celebration of his life and the family's wishes regarding donations will be made available when we have them. A more complete obituary will be posted soon on the ISR web site."

Story on Jim's role in the founding of PSID

U-M memoir upon Jim's retirement in 1987

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