Glenn Loury

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Glenn Loury
Glenn Loury Race, incarceration, and American values 57m22s (cropped).jpg
Born (1948-09-03) September 3, 1948 (age 73)
InstitutionBrown University
FieldSocial economics
Alma materNorthwestern University (BA)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA, PhD)
Robert Solow[1]
InfluencesGary Becker
Thomas Sowell
ContributionsCoate-Loury model of affirmative action
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Glenn Cartman Loury (born September 3, 1948) is an American economist, academic, and author. In 1982, at the age of 33, he became the first African American tenured professor of economics in the history of Harvard University. He is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University, where he has taught since 2005.[2]

Loury achieved prominence during the Reagan Era as a leading Black conservative intellectual.[3][4] In the mid 1990s, following a period of seclusion, he adopted more progressive views.[5] Today, Loury has somewhat re-aligned with views of the American Right, with The New York Times describing his political orientation in 2020 as "conservative-leaning."[6][7][8]

Early life and education[edit]

Loury was born in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, growing up in a redlined neighborhood. Before going to college he fathered two children, and supported them with a job in a printing plant. When he wasn't working he took classes at Southeast Junior College where he won a scholarship to study at Northwestern University.[9][10] In 1972, he received his Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Northwestern University. He then went on to receive his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976 awarded for his doctoral dissertation, titled "Essays in the Theory of the Distribution of Income", under the supervision of Robert M. Solow.[11] During the completion of his Ph.D. at MIT, he met his future wife, Linda Datcher Loury.[12]


After being awarded his Ph.D., Loury became an assistant professor of economics at Northwestern University. In 1979 he moved to teach at the University of Michigan where he continued to be an assistant professor until being promoted to a Professor of Economics from 1980-1982. In 1982, at the age of 33, Loury became the first black tenured professor of economics in the history of Harvard University.[3] He moved to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government after two years,[3] feeling that the economics appointment was a mistake because he "wasn’t yet fully established as a scientist."[13]

In 1984, Loury drew the attention of critics with "A New American Dilemma", published in The New Republic, where he addressed what he terms "fundamental failures in black society" such as "the lagging academic performance of black students, the disturbingly high rate of black-on-black crime, and the alarming increase in early unwed pregnancies among blacks."

In 1987, Loury's career continued its ascent when he was selected to be the next Undersecretary of Education, a position which would have made him the second-highest-ranking black person in the Reagan administration. However, Loury withdrew from consideration on June 1, three days before being charged with assault after a "lover's quarrel" with a 23-year-old woman; she later dropped the charges.[14] Loury was later arrested for possession of cocaine.[15]

After a subsequent period of seclusion and self-reflection, Loury reemerged as a born-again Christian and described himself as a "black progressive."[5] Loury left Harvard in 1991 to go to Boston University, where he headed the Institute on Race and Social Division. In 2005, Loury left Boston University for Brown University, where he was named a professor in the Economics Department, and a research associate of the Population Studies and Training Center.

Loury's areas of study include applied microeconomic theory: welfare economics, game theory, industrial organization, natural resource economics, and the economics of income distribution. In addition to economics, he has also written extensively on the themes of racial inequality and social policy.[16] Loury testified on racial issues before the Senate Banking Committee on March 4, 2021.[17] and presented at the Benson Center Lecture Series on February 8, 2021.[18]

Loury was elected as a member of the Econometric Society in 1994, Vice President of the American Economics Society in 1997, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000, and a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2011.[19][20][21] He was elected president of the Eastern Economics Association in 2013. Loury is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a main academic contributor to the 1776 Unites project.

In June 2020, Loury published a rebuttal to a letter Brown University president Christina Paxson sent to students and alumni in response to the murder of George Floyd by a policeman. Loury questioned the purpose of Paxson's letter, saying it either "affirmed platitudes to which we can all subscribe, or, more menacingly, it asserted controversial and arguable positions as though they were axiomatic certainties."[22]

Loury hosts The Glenn Show on with John McWhorter, often regarding questions of race and education.[23][non-primary source needed]

Personal life[edit]

Loury's wife Linda Datcher Loury died in 2011.[12] He has since remarried.[24][better source needed]


  • Loury, Glenn (1995). One by One From the Inside Out: Essays and Reviews on Race and Responsibility in America (First ed.). New York: Free Press. ISBN 978-0-02-919441-6.
  • "Social Exclusion and Ethnic Groups: The Challenge to Economics" (PDF). Boston University. 1999.
  • Loury, Glenn (2002). The Anatomy of Racial Inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-00625-6.
  • Loury, Glenn; Modood, Tariq; Teles, Steven (2005). Ethnicity, Social Mobility and Public Policy: Comparing the US and the UK. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-82309-8.
  • Loury, Glenn; Karlan, Pamela; Wacquant, Loic; Shelby, Tommie (2008). Race, Incarceration, and American Values. A Boston review book. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-12311-2.


  1. ^ Loury, Glenn Cartman (1976). Essays in the Theory of the Distribution of Income (Ph.D.). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. hdl:1721.1/27456.
  2. ^ "Glenn Loury | Watson Institute".
  3. ^ a b c "Glenn Loury's About Face". The New York Times. 20 January 2002. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  4. ^ "Bill Moyers Journal . Patterson and Loury on Race in America | PBS". Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  5. ^ a b Robert Boynton (1 May 1995). "Loury's Exodus: A profile of Glenn Loury". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  6. ^ Powell, Michael (2020-10-17). "'White Supremacy' Once Meant David Duke and the Klan. Now It Refers to Much More". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  7. ^ Brooks, David (2021-11-18). "The Terrifying Future of the American Right". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  8. ^ Varadarajan, Tunku (2020-07-10). "Opinion | A Challenger of the Woke 'Company Policy'". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  9. ^ Angelica Spertini (2006-05-15). "Glenn C. Loury Biography" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-10-31. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ "Biography of Glenn C. Loury" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Loury, Glenn Cartman (1976). Essays in the theory of the distribution of income (Thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. hdl:1721.1/27456.
  12. ^ a b Marquard, Bryan (October 2, 2011). "Linda Datcher Loury, 59, pioneer in social economics" – via The Boston Globe.
  13. ^ "'Affirmative Action is Not About Equality. It's About Covering Ass.'". 2019-06-17.
  14. ^ "Harvard Teacher is Free of Charge". The New York Times. 20 August 1987. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  15. ^ "Harvard Teacher Faces Drug Charges in Boston". The New York Times. 3 December 1987. Retrieved 2020-06-05.
  16. ^ "Glenn Loury, Brown University Population Studies and Training Center".
  17. ^ Loury, Glenn (March 4, 2021). "A Formula for Tyranny and More Racism". City Journal. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  18. ^ "Unspeakable Truths About Racial Inequality in America".
  19. ^ "Fellows of the Econometric Society 1950 to 2019". The Econometric Society. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  20. ^ "Glenn C. Loury". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  21. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  22. ^ "I Must Object".
  23. ^ "The Glenn Show". Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  24. ^ "Chronicling the Race." The Glenn Show from 2020. See last two minutes of video.

External links[edit]