The Passing of Jean-Paul Fitoussi - by Edmund Phelps, Director of the Center on Capitalism and Society

Dear members and friends of the Center on Capitalism and Society,

The sudden death of Jean-Paul Fitoussi this past Friday morning at his home in Paris has come as a shock to the many of us at the Center who knew him well. He would have turned 80 this August. He leaves behind his wife, Annie, his daughter, Lisa, his son David, and four adored grandchildren.

Jean-Paul was born in Tunisia in 1942, earned his Ph.D. and taught at the University of Strasbourg in the late 1960s before joining the European University Institute in Florence in 1979 and then becoming a professor of economics at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) in 198, President of OFCE from 1989 to 2010, and professor at LUISS in Rome. Italy was his heartland no less than France. He received the highest awards from both France and Italy.

Much of his work was aimed at evaluating and improving economic policy and participating in policy-making institutions. He contributed to the creation and development of the EBRD from 1990 to 1993, the Commission of the Nation from 1995 to 2014, and the Council of Economic Advisers of the Prime Minister. He organized and participated in the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. His recent book, Comme On Nous Parle, is widely translated.

Jean-Paul was a member of the Center on Capitalism and Society from its inception. He attended its very first conference, held at Columbia in September 2001 – a two-day Festschrift on Edmund Phelps’s work – and was a speaker at several others, from the 4th annual conference, “The Dynamism of U.S. Capitalism,” held at the Council on Foreign Relations in December 2007, to the 15th annual conference, “The Age of the Individual,” held at Columbia in October 2017. 

The many at the Center who were close to him grieve at this loss. 



2006 Nobel Laureate in Economics

Director, Center on Capitalism and Society, Columbia University

McVickar Professor Emeritus of Political Economy

Author, Rewarding Work (1997, 2007), Mass Flourishing (2013) and, with Raicho Bojilov, Hian Teck Hoon and Gylfi Zoega, Dynamism (2020)

Columbia University

1126 International Affairs Building

Mail Code 3334420 W. 118th Street

New York, NY 10027