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Autobiography

Christopher Sims ()

No 2011-4, Nobel Prize in Economics documents from Nobel Prize Committee

Abstract: My grandfathers were both immigrants to the US, one from Estonia, then part of the Russian empire, and the other from England. The Estonian, William Morris Leiserson, was Jewish. He fled Estonia in 1890 at the age of seven, through a forest in the dark of night, with his mother and two brothers. The family is not sure why they had to flee. It could have been because of a pogrom, or it could have been because of political activities of my great grandfather. Many Jews were fleeing Russia at the time. William’s father was meant to join them after they reached the US, but was not seen again. One of William’s older brothers, Louis, owned one of the shirtwaist companies in New York that were the site of the famous 1909 strike by the ILGWU, and William worked there as a youth. His formal education in public schools ended at the age of 14, but he read widely and attended public lectures in New York. At the age of 21 he went to Wisconsin, where he persuaded John R. Commons, the institutional economist, to take him on as a student despite his having no high school diploma. He later attended Columbia University in New York for his PhD work. He went on to teach at Antioch College and to become one of the first members of the US National Labor Relations Board, and then served on the National Mediation Service. He married Emily Bodman, whose family had many generations of roots in New England, and had seven children, one of them my mother, Ruth. Ruth, besides raising three children, headed the Connecticut League of Women Voters for a time and served two terms as First Selectman (similar to a mayor) of the town of Greenwich, Connecticut. She was the first woman, and the first Democrat in many decades, to be elected to that position.

Keywords: Causation; macroeconomics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C32 E60 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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