James N. Morgan, Research Scientist Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Economics, died January 8, 2018 at the age of 99.

Professor Morgan received his A.B. degree from Northwestern University summa cum laude in 1939, and his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1941 and 1947, respectively. Immediately after receiving his doctorate, he was appointed to an assistant professorship at Brown University in 1947. Professor Morgan came to the University of Michigan in 1949, as a postdoctoral fellow in economics. He was appointed assistant program director at the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center in 1951, and promoted to program director in 1956. In 1953, he received a joint appointment as associate professor of economics, and was promoted to professor of economics in 1958.

Morgan was a founding member of the Institute for Social Research (ISR). Though he retired from active faculty status at the end of 1987, he continued to be a regular presence at ISR and the University, regularly writing on economic issues of particular concern, such as income disparity. In 2013, he set up a fund in his name at ISR to support graduate students in making innovative use of SEARCH, a survey data analysis program he created in the 1960s.

In 1968, Morgan conceived of and launched the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), an ISR study created to track household data for the same 18,000 individuals over time. The study proved vital and increasingly far reaching. In the years since, PSID has continuously collected data covering employment, income, wealth, expenditures, health, marriage, and other topics; it’s 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.

This year, PSID celebrates its 50th anniversary. The National Science Foundation voted it one of its “Nifty Fifty” and “Sensational Sixty” NSF-supported projects because of its impact on research about families and their finances. Recently, Morgan established the James Morgan Innovation in the Analysis of Economic Behavior Fund to encourage U-M graduate students to use PSID data in new and original ways.

Over a career of almost 40 years at the University of Michigan, Professor Morgan produced a total of 30 books, 37 book chapters, and 25 journal articles. The topics covered consumer behavior; the distribution of income and wealth; the dynamics of income change; economic survey methods; statistical methodology; retirement, philanthropy, and mobility decisions; housing status; and productive nonmarket activity. In 1975, these accomplishments led to his election to the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Morgan was also a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Gerontological Society of America, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award at the University of Michigan in 1977.

At the request of his family, gifts in his honor can be made to the James Morgan Innovation in the Analysis of Economic Behavior Fund.