Martin Feldstein, an award-winning economist and professor who served as the president of the National Bureau of Economic Research for nearly 30 years, died Tuesday, an announcement on NBER's website said. He was 79.
In addition to heading NBER, Mr. Feldstein was also a George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University, chair of the president's council of economic advisers from 1982 to 1984, and a prolific and influential economist.
Mr. Feldstein graduated from Harvard College in 1961 and received his doctorate in economics from Oxford University, where he was an honorary fellow of Nuffield College. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1967, became a tenured professor of economics in 1969 and was appointed the George F. Baker Professor of Economics in 1984.
In 1977, Mr. Feldstein received the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, an award presented to an economist under the age of 40 judged to have made the greatest contribution to economic science. The prize citation described Mr. Feldstein's research as "covering an astonishing array of economic methods and problems."
Mr. Feldstein was appointed NBER president in 1977 and served until 2008. During his tenure, he moved NBER's headquarters to Cambridge, Mass., from New York, launched the NBER Summer Institute and regular meetings of program groups and promoted NBER working papers as a channel for spreading economic research.
He also wrote or co-wrote 165 NBER working papers and edited 19 NBER books.
Mr. Feldstein's research on Social Security and unemployment insurance revealed the effects these programs had on saving, retirement and labor supply. He documented the way taxes affect the behavior of households and firms, focusing on how taxes on investment and saving could discourage capital accumulation and slow long-term economic growth.
In addition to chairing President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, Mr. Feldstein also served on President Barack Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He was a trustee of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Group of 30.
Mr. Feldstein served as president of the American Economic Association in 2004. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy, the Econometric Society and the National Association of Business Economists and the recipient of several honorary degrees.
He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, also an economist, two daughters and four grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at the Levine Chapels, 470 Harvard St., Brookline, Mass., 2 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The burial will be private. A memorial service will be held at Harvard University in the fall.