Yale Bulletin and Calendar

April 22, 2005|Volume 33, Number 27|Two-Week Issue















Lloyd G. Reynolds

In Memoriam: Lloyd Reynolds

Shaped fields of labor relations and economics

Lloyd G. Reynolds, a scholar who shaped the fields of labor and economic development and transformed Yale's Department of Economics, died April 9 at his home in Washington, D.C., after a series of strokes.

He was 94 years old.

Born and raised on a frontier settlement in the Canadian province of Alberta, Reynolds earned a B.A. at the University of Alberta, an M.A. at McGill University and a Ph.D. at Harvard University. He held an instructorship at the latter institution before becoming a professor at Johns Hopkins University.

During World War II, as federal spending increased at a furious pace, Reynolds took leave from Johns Hopkins to serve in 1942-1943 as chief economist of the War Manpower Commission, and in 1943-1945 as a public member of the Appeals Committee for the National Labor Relations Board. At these institutions, he successfully labored to prevent wartime budget deficits from turning into price and wage inflation.

During and after the war, Reynolds served widely in governmental and private agencies as labor mediator, consultant, officer and committee member, lending his analytic, organizational and administrative skills to the Bureau of the Budget, the Agency for International Development, the Industrial Relations Research Association, the Ford Foundation, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the American Economic Association.

In 1945, Reynolds joined the Yale faculty, where he remained for 35 years until his retirement in 1980. In 1951, he became chair of Yale's Department of Economics. In the next eight years, he increased the number of faculty in economics from 31 to 65, including such notable scholars as William Fellner, Tjalling Koopmans, John Montias, Hugh Patrik, Gustav Ranis, James R. Tobin, Robert Triffin and Henry Wallich. Two later won Nobel Prizes. A third Nobel Laureate, Simon Kuznets, was soon wooed back to Harvard.

In later years, Yale President Kingman Brewster liked to tell the story of meeting Reynolds on Martha's Vineyard. Brewster remembered asking Reynolds, "Would you take me out behind the barn some day and tell me how it is you turned one of the worst departments in the country into one of the best?"

"I don't have to take you out behind the barn," replied Reynolds. "It's very simple -- just be willing to hire people who are brighter than you are."

Early in his term as chair, Reynolds confronted the firestorm caused by the publication of "God and Man at Yale," in which William Buckley criticized "the hot collectivist turn taken by the [economics] faculty after the war" and argued that such faculty should be fired. "Whit Griswold [Brewster's predecessor as Yale president] sent me out on the road," he liked to recall, "with the football coach, to talk to the alumni. Usually the coach spoke first, and after that ... the alumni didn't much want to hear about the economics department."

Twice during the 1950s, Reynolds took brief leaves from Yale to direct the Ford Foundation's new program of support for developing countries. At the end of that decade, he convinced Ford to donate $15 million to establish the Yale Economic Growth Center, where he served as founding director until 1967. The center annually brings together about 30 faculty and visiting economists studying the growth process.

When Reynolds retired from Yale, the Graduate School minutes recorded a tribute which reads in part: "[I]n the early 1950s, he was able to convert a spirited defense of the department against right wing critics into an occasion for the substantial infusion of outside resources. It was his great capacity to recognize talent in others which helped attract a first-rate faculty, including the move of the Cowles Commission to Yale."

In 1949, Reynolds published "Labor Economics and Labor Relations" (Prentice Hall). Now in its 11th edition, this textbook is widely credited with creating the field of labor economics. Over the course of a half century, Reynolds published 10 scholarly books and dozens of articles in the fields of labor economics, economic development and comparative economic systems. He published five introductory economics texts, trying his ideas out first on Yale's undergraduates. Reynolds was an institution at Yale graduations, where for more than 30 years, as senior fellow of the college, he carried the Berkeley mace as he led the seniors into the Old Campus.

Reynolds had a lifelong fascination with mountaineering, a passion that took him to the summit of Mt. Blanc at age 23, and to the top of Kilimanjaro at age 41. In his 50s, on three Nepal treks with his wife, he reached the Mt. Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna glacier.

Reynolds was married for 63 years to Mary Trackett Reynolds, who died August 28, 2000. He is survived by three children, Anne Skinner of Williamstown, Massachusetts, Priscilla Roosevelt of Washington, D.C., and Bruce Reynolds of Charlottesville, Virgina; as well as seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He was a member of the Century Club of New York, the Cosmos Club in Washington and the West Bend (Wisconsin) Country Club.

A memorial service in Reynolds' honor will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, in Battell Chapel, corner of Elm and College streets.


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