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Barbara Ruth Benton REAGAN


Barbara Ruth Benton REAGAN, economist in the field of Labour Markets; Economics of Education, Poverty, and Discrimination; Consumer Economics and Levels of Living.


REAGAN, Barbara Ruth Benton was born in 1920 in San Antonio, Texas, United States of America.


Bachelor of Science University Texas, Austin, 1941. Master of Arts (Statistics) American University, Washington, District of Columbia, 1947. Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy Harvard University, 1949, 1952.


Economics, Senior Project Leader, Agric, Research Service, United States Department Agriculture, Washington, District of Columbia, 1942-1947, 1949-1955. Professor, Texas Woman’s University, 1959-1967. Association Dean, University College, Assistant President, Southern Methodist University, 1975-1976.

Distinguished Visiting Professor of Economics, Kenyon College, Ohio, 1979. Professor of Economics, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, since 1967. Editorial Boards, Journal of Economic Literature, 9,7.

Economics Education, since 1984.


  • Ferguson Fellow, Harvard University, 1947-1949. Economics Research Advisory Committee, United States Department Agriculture, 70. Advisory Committee Agriculture Policy Institute, Institution, N. Carolina State University, Kellogg Foundation, 1965-1970.

    National Advisory Food and Drug Council, 1968-1971. Outstanding Teacher Award, Willis M. Tate Award Outstanding Faculty Member, Southern Methodist University, 1972, 1982. Manpower Council, N. Texas Council of Governments, 1972-1974.

    Committee Status of Women in the Economics Profession, American Economic Association, 1972-1978. Board of Trustees and Instructional TV Committee, Public Communication Foundation N. Texas, 6. Dallas Economists Club, since 1975.

    Dallas Chamber Commerce Committee Urban Affairs, 1975. President, Phi Beta Kappa, President, Faculty Senate Board, Governors Board Trustees, Southern Methodist University, 1975-1976, 1981-1982, 4, 1981-1983. Board of Directors, Dallas Urban League, 1975-1979.

    University Advisory Council, American Council Life Insurance, Washington, District of Columbia, 1977-1981. Advisers Committee, White House Conference Balanced National Growth and Economics Development, 1977-1978. Consultant, Ford Foundation, 1980.

    Dallas Outstanding Women, Women’s Centre Dallas, 1980. Dallas Morning News Board Economics, since 1982. AAUW Laurel Award, 1983.

    Advisory Board Economics, Wharton Econometric Forecasting Association, since 1983. Director, Federal Home Loan Bank, Region IX, 1981-1985.


Survey analysis and methodology were the focus of my early work on national surveys of income and expenditure, levels of living, small farmers’ credit and ability to repay, and agricultural wages. My most quoted article on methods was the comparative study of short and long enumerative schedules for collecting expenditure data. I have had a careerlong respect for quality economic data and econometric methods.

From fulltime research, I made a change in career direction by moving to full-time graduate and undergraduate teaching in a university that stressed teaching and professional service. After nepotism rules collapsed, I moved to a university that stressed research and teaching. I was first asked to develop core curriculum in cross-disciplinary approaches to the social sciences, and then returned to straight economics. My research interests centred on labour migration of Blacks and Mexican Americans emphasising effects of retraining programmes.

After national attention turned to discrimination against women, I was asked to help SMU clarify its own situation. This led to the article in the American Association of University Professors Bulletin explaining the methods used by the American Economic Association to help the economics profession overcome discrimination against women. I quantified revolving-door effects on hiring and replacing faculty, analysed occupational segregation by sex, extended the human capital model into male-female wage differences, criticised misuse of residual methods of measuring discrimination, and examined federal statistical needs related to women.

My recent research has centred on factors affecting women’s labour supply.