Leland Yeager is 90. That's hard for me to believe. It seems only a short while ago that I was sitting in his classes in awe of the way that he would take extremely complicated articles and show us their core arguments and key factors on which they depended.
The clarity of mind needed to do that is an all too rare commodity.
By example he taught us what it was like to think clearly and with intellectual honesty. One should learn both sides of any professional dispute. Yeager was no Keynesian but he made sure that we understood the main Keynesian arguments. Indeed I found that I had learned from him better than many of my colleagues from other universities who had studied with Keynesian oriented professors.
Besides teaching us how to do economics, he gave us insights into many economic issues, such as the integration of absorption, elasticity and monetary approaches to the effects of exchange rate adjustments, which are still relevant to current debates.
I have been blessed with being mentored by a number of fine economists in school and beyond. None taught me more about how to be an economist than Leland Yeager.
I owe him more thanks than I can ever adequately express.
Thomas D. Willett is Director of the Claremont Institute for Economic Policy Studies and Horton Professor of Economics at Claremont Graduate University and Claremont McKenna College