Saturday, December 12, 2009

Prof. Karl Case retires

Wellesley College economics professor Karl Case, of Case-Shiller fame, retired from teaching yesterday:
The idea for the most influential measure of the nation’s housing market began in Karl E. Case’s living room about 25 years ago. ...

He grew obsessed with housing values and wanted to come up with a better way to measure them. Within a few years, Case and his colleague Robert J. Shiller of Yale University created what is now called the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices, a measure based on repeat home sales that industry officials and economists rely on to gauge the health of the country’s housing market.

Case spun his ideas on home values into a series of papers, became one of the nation’s foremost specialists on housing, and imparted his passion to students, leading them on tours of Boston neighborhoods and requiring them to go through the process of buying a house as part of their course work.

Now the 63-year-old professor, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, has decided to retire, his last class scheduled for today. Case said his brain and body are not functioning the way they used to. He is slowly losing his short-term memory and can no longer remember the names of all his current students. ... "I can remember the names of every kid from 25 years ago," Case said. "All of a sudden I have a class now, and I don’t remember their names." ...

Case said he is going to keep talking about housing, even in retirement, and will work on the 10th edition of his textbook, “Principles of Economics.’’ He also plans to continue speaking at conferences.


  1. That's a real shame. My dad had Parkinsons, so I can just imagine what Case is going through.

  2. I was very sorry to read about professor Case's health problems.