In Memoriam: Richard F. Muth

Emeritus Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics


Richard Muth was born in Chicago on May 14, 1927. He graduated with a BA degree from Washington University in 1950 and a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1958, both in economics. He started his academic career in Washington University, later joining Cowles Commission, John Hopkins University, and Resources for the Future before his appointment as an Associate Professor of Urban Economics at the University of Chicago in 1959. He was promoted to full professor in 1966 but he soon left University of Chicago for Washington University and then Stanford before joining Emory in 1983. 

At Emory University, Professor Muth was appointed as Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics, where he also served as the Department Chair until 1990. He stayed at Emory until his retirement in 2002. For many years after his retirement, he continued to teach, on a voluntary basis, one of his two favorite courses, Economics of Sports or Housing and Mortgage Markets, every year. His courses were always popular and his students had tremendous respect and admiration for him. 

Professor Muth was an eminent scholar with international reputation as a founder of the field of Urban Economics. His numerous papers have appeared in top journals and his books are classics in this area. His findings have guided urban policy for years. Besides his impressive academic appointments, Professor Muth also served as policy advisor in various government departments and institutes. His service in this area includes membership of the President’s Commission on Housing (1981-82), membership of the Presidential Task Forces on Urban Affairs and on Housing (1980-81), membership of the Presidential Task Force on Urban renewal (1969), membership of National Research Council on Census Requirements (1992-94), and consultancy for Defense Department and the Institute for Defense Analysis, among others. 

Professor Muth was also an avid and very knowledgeable opera fan who generously shared his expertise and music with colleagues. He loved Chicago Bears and followed many sports closely. Professor Muth’s dry sense of humor was legendary, with students and colleagues alike. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.