In Memoriam: Robert H. Haveman, 1936-2022

June 22, 2022

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Robert H. Haveman (Bob) on June 18, 2022. Bob was an award winning teacher who published widely in public finance, the economics of environmental and natural resources policy, benefit-cost analysis, and the economics of poverty, inequality, and social policy.

Haveman was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on July 22, 1936. A first-generation college student, he received his BA in economics from Calvin College and a Ph.D. in economics from Vanderbilt University. He began his career as an assistant professor at Grinnell College and served as senior economics for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. In 1970 he joined the faculty of the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP), The LaFollette School of Public Affairs, and chair of the economics department. 

In addition, Haveman was a research associate at Resources for the Future, Fulbright Siena Professor, and four times a fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study. He has also held the Jan Tinbergen Professorship at Erasmus University, Netherlands. He was co-editor of the American Economic Review and served as a visiting research fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra and at Melbourne University. He was past president of the International Institute of Public Finance. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Umea University in Sweden and was named an Honored Colleague in the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis.

Havemen was an RSF visiting scholar (1991-92) and received several grants from the Russell Sage Foundation. He co-authored the RSF book Succeeding Generations with Barbara Wolfe. He contributed to RSF volumes From Parents to ChildrenPersistence, Privilege, and ParentingChanging Poverty, Changing PoliciesSteady Gains and Stalled ProgressEconomic Inequality and Higher EducationAssets for the PoorSocial InequalityThe Sociology of the EconomyOut of Wedlock; and Consequences of Growing Up Poor. He also co-edited (with RSF president Sheldon Danziger) the book Understanding Poverty (Harvard University Press).

RSF president Sheldon Danziger says of Haveman: “Our professional collaboration and long friendship began in 1974, when as IRP Director, he hired me in postdoctoral fellowship program that encouraged early career scholars to become poverty researchers. At the time, there were few graduate school courses on poverty and little empirical research. Through his own research and through his mentorship of many early career scholars, including me, this program had a lasting impact. Fifty years later there are several academic generations of poverty researchers, many of whom have been supported by the Russell Sage Foundation.”

Haveman is survived by his wife of 39 years, Bobbi Wolfe; children Beth Haveman (Bob Sentz), Jon Haveman, Andrea Havemen (Victor Semper), Jennifer Wolfe (Nola Zail), and Ari Wolfe (Gada); grandchildren Tyler, Dani, Ari, Dahlia, Marli, Sam, Harley, Alexa, Layla, and Jordan. 

The family has established a scholarship fund in Bob’s name to support graduate students at The LaFollette School of Public Affairs, where he served as its first director. To donate in his memory, please either click here or send a check to UW Foundation, U.S. Bank Lockbox 78807 Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807. Please designate the LaFollette School and write in Bob’s name as the person in whose memory you are donating.

A memorial event will be held in the fall.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.


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