October 26, 2011 3:01PM

William Niskanen, RIP

We were all saddened today at Cato to learn of the death of our friend and colleague Bill Niskanen. Sitting down the hall from Bill over the past 10 years, I’ve learned a great deal from him about economics, fiscal policy, and perhaps most importantly, how to approach public policy work with balance, accuracy, and integrity.

Bill called them as he saw them. If he thought your work was in error, he’d tell you bluntly. But he always had time to help you work through issues and to discuss ideas and data at great length. He brought the same honestly to his views on political issues—he really didn’t care what party label people had when judging their policies, and so he set the standard for Cato’s nonpartisan analysis. 

One impressive thing about Bill was the huge range of his policy interests and scholarship. At Cato, Bill tackled issues in fiscal policy, international trade, defense spending, foreign policy, public choice economics, macroeconomics, monetary policy, and corporate governance. He even published a statistical analysis of crime rates.

Bill was a mentor and a good friend, and I will miss him.