Faculty profiles

Members of the Economics Department

Martha L. Olney

Teaching Professor Emerita

Economic history, macroeconomics, economics of discrimination
Current Status
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1985
Research Interests
Consumer spending; consumer indebtedness; Great Depression; race and credit and saving; rise of services

About Martha L. Olney

Martha Olney is a Teaching Professor Emerita in Berkeley's Economics Department. She joined the department in 1991 as a Research Associate at the Institute of Business and Economic Research. She was a visiting associate professor from 1992 to 2002, when she became an adjunct professor. She was promoted to Teaching Professor (Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment) in July 2017 and retired in July 2022. She served as Chair of the Department's Undergraduate Committee for 9 years, 2012-2021. Professor Olney organized and hosted the Economic History Lunches for graduate students and faculty from 1996 until her retirement in 2022. Prior to joining Berkeley, she was an associate professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she had taught since 1984. She has also taught at Stanford University (2001) and Siena College (2011-2012). She received her PhD from Berkeley in 1985. Professor Olney is the recipient of multiple teaching and mentoring awards including Distinguished Teaching Awards from UC Berkeley, UC Berkeley's Social Science Division, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, plus awards from Phi Beta Kappa, the Economic History Association, The Stavros Center for Economic Education, and UC Berkeley's Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs. She is a member of the American Economic Association, Business History Conference, Cliometric Society, Economic History Association, and the Social Science History Association. She previously served on the academic advisory board of the Financial Services Research Program of George Washington University and on the boards of the AEA's Committee for the Status of Women in the Economics Profession, and the Business History Conference. She is currently a member of the board of the AEA's Committee on the Status of LGBTQ+ Individuals in the Economics Profession (CSQIEP) and the AEA's Task Force for Outreach to High School and Undergraduate Students in Economics.