Merton J. Peck

Thomas DeWitt Cuyler Professor of Economics

Merton J. PeckJoe Peck, B.A. Oberlin College, Ph.D. Harvard University, faculty member at Yale since 1963, your colleagues wished us to begin this citation with the words: “O Peck, you are such a great man!” You rose steadily through the academic world—from Michigan to Harvard—and from Harvard to—Yale! Your superb research on the economics of transportation led to a collaborative book that became a classic. Equally acclaimed are your contributions to the reform of defense procurement and regulation, and your analysis of the technology and communications industries. An expert on the economy of Japan, with typical breadth, you later turned your critical eye to the problems of transition as the Soviet system dissolved.

A key figure at this University for almost forty years, you served and guided Yalies in almost every possible capacity. Your talents as a teacher and your devotion as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Graduate Studies won you a special place in the hearts of countless students. You led the Department of Economics as Chair a record number of years, and the School of Management as Acting Dean during a troubled time. Not only a brilliant scholar and administrator, you have also been the wisest of counselors, sought out for advice by your colleagues, your students, the Yale administration, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (as his Director of Systems Analysis) and President Lyndon B. Johnson (as a member of his Council of Economic Advisors). Your great friend, the late Bill Parker, once observed, “when Joe Peck is made Chairman or Dean, it is a sign that the President feels that patience and consultation is needed and that incipient ungovernability is at hand.” For all your gifts to Yale, we thank you. But even as your colleagues grudgingly allow you to retire today, we warn you: we will not stop asking your advice!

Tribute Editor: Penelope Laurans