YALE Bulletin & Calendar

March 23, 2001

Richard Ruggles,
Noted Economic Statistician, Dies

Richard Ruggles (1916-2001)

Richard Ruggles, a member of the Yale economics faculty for nearly 40 years who was a specialist in the fields of national economic accounting and economic theory, died March 4 at his home in New Haven of complications from prostate cancer.

Professor Ruggles, who was 84, was known for developing accounting tools for measuring national income and improving price indexes used in formulating government policy. Throughout his Yale career, he conducted research for numerous government agencies and bodies, including the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Federal Reserve Board, the Bureau of the Census and the National Bureau of Economic Research, as well as the Ford Foundation. He also served on various governmental committees concerned with economic statistics.

The economist did much of his work with his first wife, Nancy, who died in 1987. Pricing Systems, Indexes, and Price Behavior, Macro- and Microdata Analyses and Their Integration, and National Accounting and Economic Policy, collections of their work, were published in 1999.

Born on June 15, 1916, in Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Ruggles was the son of economist Clyde O. Ruggles, who taught at and was dean of the Harvard Business School. The younger Mr. Ruggles attended Harvard for both undergraduate and graduate study, earning his B.A. in 1939, an M.A. in 1941 and his Ph.D. in 1942.

After earning his doctorate, Professor Ruggles joined the Office of Strategic Services as an economist. During World War II, he worked for the office in London, where he estimated the production rates of tanks at German factories using photographs of the serial numbers from captured or destroyed tanks. In 1945-46 he was with the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey in Tokyo and Washington.

Professor Ruggles returned briefly to Harvard as an instructor in 1946 before joining the Yale faculty a year later as an assistant professor of economics. He was named an associate professor in 1949 and a full professor in 1954. He was appointed the Stanley Resor Professor of Economics in 1954. He chaired the Department of Economics from 1959 to 1962, and also served as director of undergraduate studies in the department.

Professor Ruggles and his family traveled frequently, making trips to the Soviet Union and to various developing countries, among other places.

Professor Ruggles married Caridad Navarette Kindelán in 1989. In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children, Steven Ruggles of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Patricia Ruggles of Washington, D.C.; and Catherine Ruggles of Los Angeles, California; two sisters, Catherine Ruggles Gerrish of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Rebecca Ruggles of New York City; four grandchildren; and his wife's seven children and 13 grandchildren.