Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published in The Journal of Economic Education 46:3 (2015), pp. 233–238; doi: 10.1080/00220485.2015.1040184


Copyright © 2015 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


Michael Watts, Professor of Economics at Purdue University, died unexpectedly on December 5, 2014, at the age of 64 while on vacation in Antigua. His connection to the Journal of Economic Education is a long one. For 20 years, from 1988 through 2007, Mike served as the associate editor for JEE’s instruction section, which typically accounts for the largest number of articles published in a JEE issue. After 2007, he continued to serve on JEE’s editorial board. Mike was a remarkable academic and scholar who made significant and wide-ranging contributions to economic education beyond his valuable service to JEE.

Mike was born on November 3, 1950, in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, where he lived until he was six. He spent the rest of his childhood and teen years growing up in Kenner, Louisiana. For his higher education, he attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he earned his BS (1972), MA (1976), and PhD (1978), all in economics. After graduating, he taught for three years at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. Mike was hired in 1981 by Purdue University. He spent the rest of his academic career on the economics faculty at Purdue in its Krannert School of Management and Department of Economics. In 1984, Mike also was appointed director of the Purdue Center for Economic Education, a position he held until his death. Through the Center, Mike taught economics to elementary through high school teachers. In 2014, Mike’s Center received the Peter V. Harrington Award for its work in economic education in Indiana.