Monday, October 11, 2010


I took a course from Dale Mortensen - Micro Foundations of Macroeconomics - and he was a member of my dissertation committee. So I'm very pleased with his selection. Here is a little story about him circa 1979, when I was a graduate student and he became the chair of the department at Northwestern.

The department had recently moved into Andersen Hall from the three Houses it had occupied and while the new surroundings were clearly "better" and more efficient they were a little less personal. Dale wanted to promote collegiality in the department and did so in a variety of ways. One of those directly involved me. Dale floated me some start up capital (maybe $10) to buy a case of beer or two and some ice for a Friday afternoon TGIF to be held in the outside atrium area and interior adjoining in the basement. I believe we asked for donations of 50 cents per beer to be put into a coffee can. The proceeds from the sales would cover the purchase for the following week. At the time Evanston was dry and you couldn't get a drink at an establishment in town without ordering some food with it. So this was slightly risque. It was a risk that had a big payoff. Eventually it became a habit where a good chunk of the department, both faculty and graduate students, would participate, a way to blow of some steam and make the place more welcoming. Dale was always innovating, even if much of that stayed off the Nobel Committee's radar.