Picture courtesy of Knowledge at Wharton
It is with great sadness that the Department of Economics notes that Anita Arrow Summers passed away on October 22, 2023. Anita received a B.A. in Economics from Hunter College in 1945 and an MA from the University of Chicago in 1947. She joined the Wharton School to start the first public policy department in a business school in 1979 and chaired that department from 1983 to 1988. She was one of America's leading authorities on urban economic development and educational efficiency.
Anita was a great role model and advocate for women in public policy and in academia, and her advocacy for evidence-based public policy has been inspirational (see here for an interview Anita had with Wharton Dean Erika James in May 2022).
Anita was married to Robert (Bob) Summers, who was a long-time faculty member of Penn Economics from 1960 until his retirement in 1991. Bob was honored as an American Economics Association Distinguished Fellow in 1998 for his path-breaking work on the measurement of consistent economic aggregates and prices across nations and over time in the International Comparison Program/Penn World Table project. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001.
Anita was a generous supporter of the Department of Economics. In 2022 Anita and her son Larry Summers established the Robert and Anita Summers Graduate Research Award.
Anita's friends at the Department of Economics will sorely miss her.