Frederic S. Lee (1949-2014): A Tribute

IIPPE in Brief Issue No. 12

by Ioana Negru

Pasted_Image_16_11_2014_11_12Frederic Sterling Lee passed away on October 23, 2014, having been diagnosed with stage 4- lung-cancer earlier this year. The heterodox community has lost a prominent economist and scholar as well as a supportive colleague and mentor for younger generations of heterodox economists. In “How I became a Heterodox economist” (, Fred Lee explains how he was predestined to become a dissenting economist. The family backgrounds of both his parents together with his father’s interests in pressing economic and social issues as well as contact with Marxist and Institutionalist writings culminated in an environment where politics, civil and workers’ rights were frequently discussed. Having majored in History, and attending graduate classes in philosophy and philosophy of science, Fred Lee reaslised early on that economists posed very interesting social questions. Under the mentorship of Alfred S. Eichner he undertook doctoral studies in Columbia. Although Fred’s initial ambition was to create a coherent Post-Keynesian theoretical framework, this evolved into bigger concerns over the foundations of heterodox economics.

We are indebted to Fred Leefor his efforts to institutionalise heterodox economics in UK, his role in rhe organisation of the Association of Heterodox Economics in UK, his work on the Research Excellence Frameworkand alternative rankings for academic journals.

The Economics Department in the School of Oriental and African Studies is organizing a tribute and fundraising event in the honour of Frederic Sterling Lee on 22 of November. The event will take place at SOAS, Russell Square from 09:00-19:99. This event will celebrate his activities towards establishing a truly heterodox and pluralist community of economists and not least his theoretical contributions towards developing foundations for heterodox economics. Invited speakers include Professor Geoff Harcourt, Professor Sheila Dow, Professor Jan Toporowski, Professor Paul Downward, Dr. Andre Brown, Dr. Bruce Philp, Dr. Andrew Mearman, Dr. Gary Slater.

Fred and his wife, Ruth, have recently established the Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund, which is designed to financially support doctoral heterodox economics students. The Scholarship is open to all doctoral students studying in a heterodox economics programme, although currently preference is given to UMKC doctoral students due to the limited amount of funds.

For programme and registration visit:

To make a contribution to the Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund, visit: (minimum donation of £16):

To learn more about the Fund, visit:

You can also make a contribution to the Fund by purchasing Fred’s books and journals. For more information, visit:

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