Photo courtesy of Institute
Research on Labor and Employment
Lloyd Ulman: An Oral History
Interviews conducted by Riyad Koya in 2011, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of
California, Berkeley, 2013.
Lloyd Ulman is known to the Berkeley community as professor emeritus in the Economics Department and as the past director (1963-1981) of the Institute of Industrial Relations (IIR). In 1961, leading economist Walter Heller asked Dr. Ulman to serve as a Senior Labor Economist to the Council of Economic Advisers under President Kennedy. In this interview, Dr. Ulman provides important background to policy debates on wage and price guidelines within the Kennedy administration. His account highlights the growing consensus among economists that union wage demands were a proximate cause of inflation. He is the author of numerous influential books in labor economics, including: The Rise of the National Trade Union (1955), The Government of the Steel Workers (1962), and several books focusing on global issues such as Unionism, Economic Stabilization, and Incomes Policies: European Experience (1983). In addition to delving deeply into his work as an economist, Ullman discusses life on the Berkeley campus, including his participation on the Heyman Committee, which reported unfavorably on the role of the campus administration in managing student protests of the mid-1960s. An accomplished raconteur, Dr. Ulman has framed the interview as a series of what he terms “postcards to posterity.” These postcards are issued as an extended meditation on questions that had animated his career as a labor economist: the expansion and contraction of union membership, the relationship of wages to productivity, the economic stagnation of the middle class.