Robert E. Lucas Jr., Nobel-Winning Conservative Economist, Dies at 85

Robert E. Lucas Jr., a contrarian Nobel laureate in economics who undergirded conservative arguments that government intervention in fiscal policy is often self-defeating, died on Monday in Chicago. He was 85.

His death was announced by the University of Chicago, where he began teaching as a professor in 1975 and remained a professor emeritus until his death. The announcement did not cite a cause.

In awarding the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1995 to Professor Lucas, the fifth winner in economics from the University of Chicago in six years, the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences described him as “the economist who has had the greatest influence on macroeconomic research since 1970.”

While he propounded a number of groundbreaking if sometimes controversial theories, Professor Lucas was best known for his hypothesis of “rational expectations,” advanced in the early 1970s in a critique of macroeconomics.

In that critique, he challenged John Maynard Keynes’s…

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This article was written by Sam Roberts and originally published on