Robert A. Haugen

Well-known financial economist and Durango resident Robert A. Haugen died Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, at his home. He was 70.

Known as “Bob,” he was born to Raymond and Caroline Raab Haugen on June 26, 1942, in Chicago.

Mr. Haugen graduated from Lane Tech College Preparatory High School in Chicago in 1960. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in finance and going on to receive his doctorate in finance from the same institution.

In 1968, Mr. Haugen became an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison where, continuing his collaboration with a professor from graduate school, A. James Heins, he began examining historical stock data from the Center for Research in Security Prices.

“Using data from 1926 through 1971, they were astonished to find that in both equity and bond markets, the relationship between risk and return was negative, contradicting a basic tenet in the field of finance,” his family said. “This finding was not well-received by the academic community.”

Dr. Haugen eventually held endowed chairs at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Illinois and the University of California at Irvine.

In the early 1970s, Mr. Haugen served as an expert witness in the precedent-setting legal and environmental battle known as the Reserve Mining case. Reserve Mining and the other defendant companies were disposing of thousands of tons of taconite tailings into Lake Superior. Mr. Haugen determined that the companies could afford to use alternate means of disposal without bankrupting their operations, which helped restore the health of Lake Superior.

“A vocal critic of the efficient market hypothesis and the capital asset pricing model, Dr. Haugen’s professional legacy includes scores of supporters and admirers, a prolific body of published research, 15 books on finance and the stock market available in seven languages, and the respect and appreciation of professional investors worldwide who converted his theories into profitable investments,” his family said. “Recently ranked among the Top 20 most-published academics in the top finance journals, his academic work has inspired thousands of professionals to question long-held tenets of the academic establishment.”

In 1992, he founded Haugen Custom Financial Systems.

Mr. Haugen is survived by his wife, Jan Bowler, of Durango; daughters Wendy Haugen of Durango and Sally Haugen Ellingsen in C’oeur d’Alene, Idaho; siblings Marilyn Larson and Richard Haugen, both of the Chicago area; and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. For details, email