W. Lee Hansen is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations from the UW-Madison (1950), a Master’s degree in Economics from the UW-Madison, and a Ph.D. in Political Economy from the Johns Hopkins University (1958).
He taught at the University of California-Los Angeles prior to joining the Wisconsin faculty in 1965. In 1964-65 he served as Senior Staff Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. He has also been a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Political Economy at the University of Chicago, a Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota, a Fullbright Scholar at the University of Sydney (Australia), an Academic Visitor at the London School of Economics, a Visiting Professor at the University of Western Australia, and a Visitor at the University of Maastricht (Netherlands). While at UW-Madison, he has served Chairman of the Economics Department (1971-74) and Director of Industrial Relations Research Institute (1983-87) plus a wide array of institutional committees. Hansen has received numerous awards, including election to Phi Beta Kappa, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award. He has been honored at the UW-Madison with an AMOCO Distinguished Teaching Award, the Hilldale Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement at UW-Madison, and election in 1994 to the newly established Teaching Academy whose purpose is to improve instruction at UW-Madison.
He has also been recognized for his extensive work in economic education, including the James Taylor Award for Excellence in Teaching Economics from the Wisconsin Council on Economic Education, the Distinguished Service Award in Economic Education from the National Council on Economic Education and the National Association of Economic Educators, the Distinguished Educator award for “creativity, enterprise, and achievement in entrepreneurship and free enterprise education” from the National Federation of Independent Business Foundation, the Marvin Bower Award from the National Council on Economic Education for his “distinction in the field of economic education,” the Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education, and most recently the Henry H. Villard Research Award.
Hansen has published more than 150 papers on topics in labor economics, the economics of education, and economic education. He is the author or editor of ten books, the most recent of which are Discussing Economics (2005) and Academic Freedom on “Trial:” 100 Years of Sifting and Winnowing at the University of Wisconsin (1998). From 1981-85 he edited the Journal of Human Resources. He has served on a variety of committees for the National Science Foundation, National Research Council, American Association of University of Professors, and American Economic Association. He also served for many years on the Board of Directors of the National Council on Economic Education, and as its Secretary from 1996-2000.