Dr. Summers, Economics
Dr. Robert Summers, professor emeritus of economics in the School of Arts & Sciences, passed away April 17 at age 89.
Dr. Summers is best known for his path-breaking work with Penn professors Alan Heston and Irving B. Kravis in developing real product comparisons and estimating purchasing-power parities for numerous countries. Known as the Penn World Tables, this widely-used resource allowed economists to measure economic aggregates and prices across nations and over time.
Dr. Summers was a recipient of the Lindback Award in 1967. He was named a distinguished fellow of the American Economics Association in 1998 for his work on the International Comparison Project. He became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2001.
Born in Gary, Indiana, Dr. Summers received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1943 and a doctorate from Stanford University in 1956.
He taught at Yale University before joining Penn in 1960 as an associate professor. He was promoted to professor in 1967 at which time he also chaired the Graduate Group in Economics. He retired in 1991.
Dr. Summers is survived by his wife, Dr. Anita Summers, professor emeritus of public policy, management, real estate and education in the Wharton School; sons, Lawrence, John and Richard, co-director of psychiatry training and clinical associate professor in the department of psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine; and seven grandchildren.