Gerald Jaynes, the newly named A. Whitney Griswold Professor of Economics, African American Studies, and Urban Studies, studies race relations and the economic conditions of African Americans and immigrants. His appointment was effective January 1.
Jaynes is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In the field of economics, he is known for the Jaynes-Hellwig-Glosten Allocation, which describes an equilibrium outcome achieved in markets where trading agents have insufficient information about each other. Jaynes’ book, “Branches Without Roots: Genesis of the Black Working Class in the American South” (1986), revised economists’ and historians’ understanding of the economics of Reconstruction and the origins of sharecropping in the American South. He has also worked as a consultant to federal and local government agencies and served in a number of public capacities, including as study director of the Committee on The Status of Black Americans at the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences from 1985 to 1989.
He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1976, where he also earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy. Prior to coming to Yale in 1977, he was assistant professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1990 to 1996, he served as chair of the Department of African American Studies and spearheaded an initiative to develop combined doctoral degrees with other departments and programs at the university.
His research has been cited internationally by legislative bodies and courts, including by the U.S. Supreme Court. Jaynes has also written extensively for scholarly journals, books, and popular essays. Some of his notable publications include the books “A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society” (1989); “Immigration and Race: New Challenges for American Democracy” (2004); and “The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865 – Present” (2012).