In Memoriam Ray Rees

Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Written by Mike Hoy

It is with great sadness that we pass on the news of the recent death of Ray Rees. Some of you know and remember him fondly from his time here as a faculty member (1987-93) while others will know him from his many visits over the years both after and before that time. His first connection to Guelph was as a visiting professor in 1974-75. 

After receiving his M.Sc. in Economics (with distinction) from the London School of Economics, Ray began his career at Queen Mary College, University of London (1966-78). He then held a position as Professor of Economics at the University of Wales (1978-87), then at our university until 1993, and then from 1993 to 2008 he was a Professor of Economics at University of Munich (LMU). He was Programme Director of CES (Center for Economic Studies, LMU) from 1993-2013 and held the position of emeritus professor from 2008 until the time of his death. 

Ray had an illustrious career which included being an economic advisor to H.M.Treasury, UK, from 1968-72, and a member of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, UK from 1985-87. He was a visiting professor/scholar at numerous institutions including the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University; CORE, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium ; Nuffield College, Oxford, UK;  University of York, UK; Dartmouth College, New Hampshire; Harvard University; University of Oslo; Sydney University Law School; and University of Canterbury, NZ. 

Ray held numerous academic administrative positions including membership on the Board of Governors, Economic Policy and President of the European Group of Risk and Insurance Economists (EGRIE). 

Ray’s research covers many areas of economics including: Economics of the household; Capital income taxation; Insurance markets and health economics; Oligopoly, collusion and competition policy; Economics of regulation; Privatisation and public enterprise. His ground-breaking work with Patricia Apps on the economics of the household is especially highly regarded and cited. Their work challenged the use of the unitary preference framework in the context of household decision making. From a rich vein of research, they have demonstrated that a proper understanding of household behaviour requires framing household decisions as the result of joint decision making. They show that only by modelling household preferences as social preferences derived from the members of the family can one develop coherent government policy including optimal income and wealth taxation, optimal indirect taxation, childcare policies, and more.   

Ray was also a deep and critical thinker on matters of politics, history, and literature. I am sure that all who knew Ray will have benefited from his intellect, generosity, and love of life. 


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