J. Peter Neary (1950-2021)

Peter Neary passed away two weeks ago. He was a great economist and a great human being. His enthusiasm for economics and ideas was infectious, and he was extremely kind to all. He’ll be deeply missed.

As a first-year MPhil student keen on international trade, I was very lucky that Peter Neary also arrived in Oxford in 2006. I met him at a departmental social function early in the autumn term. As many others have testified, Peter made a habit of graciously introducing himself to newcomers. I no longer recall much of that first conversation – beyond my insufferably geeky initial query, “are you the Neary of Anderson and Neary?” – but Peter made us feel welcome from the start. We would all do well to emulate him.

As one might expect given his vivid and lucid argumentation, Peter was an excellent teacher. His lectures on international trade were well organized and illuminating. His enthusiasm and witty asides made even dry material lively. One of my classmates, who was not keen on trade per se, said at the time that Peter’s first lecture was the best we had had in Oxford.

Peter’s scholarly contributions are well known. He worked on hard, important problems and made seminal contributions. His Irish compatriots mention him alongside Edgeworth, Geary, and Gorman, which would delight him as an enthusiast of the history of economic thought. Peter also devoted time to professional service throughout his career. University College Dublin hosted a very nice event celebrating Peter Neary two months ago, now available on YouTube.

Rest in peace, Peter. I’ll miss you.