Remembering Bill Allen

The UCLA Department of Economics is sad to announce that William R. Allen (1924-2021) passed away on January 15, 2021.  Allen obtained his A.B. (Bachelor of Arts) from Cornell College (1948) and his Ph.D. from Duke University (1953). He instructed at Washington University prior to joining the UCLA faculty in 1952. He has been a visiting professor at Northwestern University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Michigan, Southern Illinois University, and Texas A&M University, and he has been on the faculty of the Colorado School of Banking.

He has been a consultant to the Balance of Payments Division of the Department of Commerce and a director of the Yardney Corporation. He was Chairman of the Department of Economics from 1967–1969. A recipient of various scholarship awards as a student, his professional research (largely in International Economics, Monetary Economics, and the History of Economic Theory) has been supported by grants from the Social Science Research Council, the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Earhart Foundation. He has received the UCLA Alumni Association Award for the Art of Teaching, the Western Economic Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Foundation at Valley Forge Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education. He has been Vice President and President of the Western Economic Association, Vice President of the History of Economics Society, Vice President and a member of the Executive Committee of the Southern Economic Association, and a director of the University Professors for Academic Order. He was the economics correspondent of the California Political Review, on the editorial board of the Social Science Quarterly, and on the advisory board of the History of Political Economy. He has participated extensively in conference, seminar, and lecture programs. He has authored, co-authored, and edited nine books and has contributed widely to professional journals in the United States and elsewhere. Among the ten greatest books ever written in economics is University Economics. First published in 1972, this textbook that is co-authored by Armen A. Alchian (1914-2013) and William R. Allen is a marvel. If you read it and grasp even no more than one-third of its lessons you will gain keener insights into economic forces at work than are had by some Nobel laureates in economics. If you grasp most of the lessons of this book, you will possess economic insight that is rivaled by very few people indeed.

In 1974, he was appointed the first President of the International Institute for Economic Research; he was then Vice President of the Institute for Contemporary Studies, with which the International Institute for Economic Research merged in 1986. From 1990-1992 he was an associate of the Reason Foundation.

He has been a nationally syndicated radio commentator and a newspaper columnist, a Los Angeles television commentator and an occasional magazine essayist. From 1978 to 1992 more than 200 radio stations carried daily broadcasts of “the Midnight Economist” written and delivered by Allen.

The UCLA community will miss him dearly and our thoughts are with his family at this time.


Other articles remembering Bill Allen:

Wall Street Journal