Marc L. Nerlove papers, 1930-2014, bulk dates 1947-2014

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Nerlove, Marc, 1933-
Marc Nerlove (born 1933) is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland. This collection primarily documents his professional life through his correspondence, writings, research, and professional and faculty activities. It was acquired as part of Economists' Papers Archive.
172 Linear Feet (134 record cartons, four document boxes, two half document boxes, two electronic record boxes, and three oversize folders.)
0.1 Gigabytes (One set.)
Materials are primarily in English; some material also in Portuguese, French, German, and Spanish.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The materials in this collection are from Nerlove's former home in Maryland and his two offices at the University of Maryland.

The primary subjects are related to agricultural economics and econometrics and are supply and demand; time series analysis; production functions; panel analysis; welfare economics and family demography; and agricultural development, economic aspects of population, and environmental economics. There are records on his presidency of the Econometric Society and the founding/first meetings of the Latin American regional group, and his reviews of four Nobel Prize nominees.

The most common types of material are research files, manuscript files for writings, course files with teaching material (including from other people besides Nerlove), and files for his professional activites as an economist. To a lesser extent, there are correspondence files, university/department administrative files, supervised dissertation files, and personal files (including his university coursework). There are some bound books and journal issues with his writings, a small number of photographic prints of him, one compact audio cassette of him delivering a presentation, and 131 floppy discs that primarily contain writings, research, and teaching material; the contents of these disks have been transferred to a server and are available.

The greatest amount of correspondence is with Kenneth Arrow, José Carvalho (student), Carl Christ (dissertation supervisor), David Grether (student), Zvi Griliches, Lawrence Klein, Tjalling Koopmans, Ta-Chung Liu (teacher), Theodore Schultz (teacher), and Lester Telser. To a lesser extent, there is some correspondence, teaching material, and two writings from Milton Friedman (teacher) and one handwritten letter from John Nash. There is also correspondence, teaching material, and writings from his father S. H. (Samuel Henry) Nerlove and writings from younger sister Sara "Sally" Nerlove.

Biographical / historical:

Marc Leon Nerlove (born 1933) is a white American agricultural economist and econometrician who was born on 12 October 1933 in Chicago, Illinois to Dr. S. H. (Samuel Henry; 1902-1972) and Evelyn (1907-1987) Nerlove. S. H. Nerlove was born in Vitebsk, Russia (now Belarus) and brought to the US by his parents in 1904, and he became a professor of business economics at the University of Chicago (circa 1922-1965) then the University of California, Los Angeles (1962-1969). Evelyn Nerlove was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and worked at the University of Chicago hospital and taught in the School of Social Service Administration until a university nepotism policy forced her to resign after their marriage in 1932 (although she "returned to her profession" in the 1950s). S. H. and Evelyn had two other children: Harriet Nerlove (circa 1937-2019), who became a clinical psychologist at Stanford University then in New York City, and Sara "Sally" Nerlove (born circa 1942), who became an anthropologist before spending most of her working life as a program officer at the National Science Foundation.

Marc Nerlove attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools from 1939-1949, earned a BA with honors in mathematics and general honors in 1952, and was a Research Assistant at the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics in 1953. He then earned a MA in 1955 and a PhD in economics with distinction in 1956 from the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), where Carl Christ supervised his dissertation. Nerlove's other teachers included Milton Friedman, Theodore Schultz, Ta-Chung Liu, Fritz Machlup, and Jacob Marschak.

Nerlove's teaching career began in 1958 as a visiting lecturer then lecturer at JHU before he was appointed to his first professorship in 1959 at the University of Minnesota. From there, he made stops at Stanford (1960-1965), Yale University (1965-1969), Chicago (1969-1975), Northwestern University (1974-1982), and the University of Pennsylvania (1982-1993) before retiring from the University of Maryland (1993-2016). He also held many visiting appointments, including at Harvard University (1967-1968), four universities and research centers in Germany, the University of British Columbia (1971), Fundação Getulio Vargas in Brazil (1974-1978), and Australian National University (1982).

Nerlove's employment history also includes federal service. He was an analytical statistician in the Agricultural Marketing Service at the US Department of Agriculture from 1956-1957, then a lieutenant in the US Army from 1957-1959. He was drafted in 1957, then on loan from the Chemical Corps to the (US) Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly as an economist at the request of Chairman Estes Kefauver in 1958. In addition, Nerlove consulted for the RAND Corporation (1959-1989), Southern Pacific Company (1961), (US) President's Committee to Appraise Employment and Unemployment Statistics (1962), World Bank (1979-1985), and International Food Policy Research Institute (1981-1986).

Nerlove's history of professional service includes the Econometric Society (President, 1981), American Economic Association (Executive Committee, 1977-1979), American Statistical Association (advisory committees to the Bureau of the Census, 1964-1969, and Civil Aeronautics Board, 1966-1968), International Economic Association (Chair, Econometrics Section, 1989), National Academy of Sciences (National Research Council Committee on Social Sciences in the NSF, 1975-1976), NSF (proposal reviewer, 1960-1974), and Social Sciences Research Council (Director, Mathematical Social Science Board Summer Workshop on Lags in Economic Behavior, 1970).

Nerlove's awards include the 1969 John Bates Clark Medal, a Fulbright Research Grant (1962-1963), and two Guggenheim Fellowships (1962-1963; 1978-1979), and he is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association (1993) and American Economic Association (2012).

Nerlove married Mary Ellen Lieberman (died 2011) in the 1950s and they had two daughters, Susan Nerlove (born circa 1958) and Miriam Nerlove (born circa 1960). Miriam Nerlove become an author and illustrator of children's books, including Who Is David with Evelyn Nerlove in 1985. Marc and Mary Ellen Nerlove divorced in the 1970s, then he married Dr. Anke Meyer (born 1955), a German environmental economist who spent 23 years at the World Bank (1991-2014) and collaborated with him on some of his writings during this time.


Chicago Tribune. "Death Notice: Mary Ellen Nerlove." August 7, 2011, sec. News.

Ghysels, Eric, and Marc Nerlove. "The ET Interview: Professor Marc Nerlove." Econometric Theory 9, no. 1 (March 1993): 117–43.

IZA Institute of Labor Economics. "Marc L. Nerlove."

American Economic Association. "Marc Nerlove, Clark Medalist 1969," 1969.

American Economic Association. "Marc Nerlove, Distinguished Fellow 2012," 2012.

Peart, Andrew. "University of Chicago Obituaries." University of Chicago Magazine, 2019.

Weston, J. Fred, N. Jacoby, and Jack Hirshleifer. "Samuel H. Nerlove, Management, Los Angeles." In 1975, University of California: In Memoriam, by University of California Academic Senate, 110–12, 1975.;NAAN=13030&doc.view=frames&

Acquisition information:
The Marc L. Nerlove papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library as gifts from Nerlove in 2016-2017 and 2022.
Processing information:

Processing was begun by Jon Cogliano in 2019, interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and finished by Zachary Tumlin in October 2022. This project-based position was funded by a Charles Koch Foundation grant awarded to Duke University in 2018.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2016-0077, 2016-0167, 2016-0319, 2017-0003, and 2022-0139.


The Marc L. Nerlove papers are arranged into six series: Correspondence; Conferences, Organizations, and Consulting (professional service); Writings; Academia; Personal; and Research.

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Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Access note. Some materials in this collection are electronic records that require special equipment. Contact Research Services with questions.

Access restricted. Some materials in this collection include student records. In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, Duke University permits students to inspect their education records and limits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records. Contact Research Services for more information.

Access restricted. There is a file of Nobel Prize reviews that are restricted for 50 years after creation. Contact Research Services for more information.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the Rubenstein Library's Citations, Permissions, and Copyright guide.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Marc L. Nerlove papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University.