Sir Alan Bailey

Category: 1960s /  All Harkness Stories /  Politics & Public Services / 

Sir Alan Bailey (HF 1963-64) was working in the Treasury when he applied for a Harkness fellowship in 1963. He had recently been private secretary to Edward Boyle, who had meanwhile left politics and become chair of the Harkness selection board – indeed he knew that his chosen topic, how the American government employed its economists, was one of Edward Boyle’s interests, so that his success may have looked a bit like favouritism. He spent a fascinating year at Harvard and touring the whole United States (with his wife and two small children) – but worked quite hard on his report, which circulated for a time among top Treasury officials. On his return the old-style (pre-Fulton) ‘generalist’ Treasury put him in a pay division “for the good of his soul”, but he was able to use his exposure to early microeconomic theory and cost-benefit analysis in later Treasury postings, and finally as Permanent Secretary in the Department of Transport. He was awarded the KCB for his services in 1986. Since retiring in 1991 he has found various interesting part-time roles, as a non-executive Board member of London Transport and chair of London Transport Buses, and in voluntary organisations including locally in Greenwich, as well as chairing the Harkness Fellows Association in its early years. Sir Alan passed away in April 2023.