Economics, rather than politics, became his life’s work partly because of an inspiring teaching assistant named Jerry Kenley. Fifty years later, sitting in his office at N.Y.U., Mr. Sargent remembers his old T.A.
“Jerry liked to say, ‘Economics is organized common sense.’ I still think that’s about right,” Mr. Sargent says. Those early classes touched on everything from farm subsidies to taxation. “Wow, it really got me going,” he says.