Donald Dewey (1922–2002)


Former Economics Chair, Donald Dewey, Dies at 79

Columbia University Record, June 7, 2002


Donald Dewey, a Columbia economics emeritus professor who was best known for his work in the field of industrial organization, died on March 5 in Hastings-on-the-Hudson, NY, at the age of 79. Dewey came to Columbia in 1960 as an associate professor, remaining at the University until his retirement in 1992. From 1973 to 1976, he chaired the economics department before resuming his regular duties as full professor.


His published works included “Monopoly in Economics and Law” (Rand McNally 1959), “Modern Capital Theory” (Columbia 1965), “The Theory of Imperfect Competition” (Columbia 1969), “Microeconomics: The Analysis of Markets and Prices” (Oxford 1975) and “The Antitrust Experiment in America” (Columbia 1990). Dewey also authored or co-authored more than 30 articles and 70 book reviews in various economic journals.


“Don understood the value and predictive power of mathematical models,” said Stuart Bruchey, Allan Nevins Professor Emeritus of American Economic History. “But like any good historian, he also understood their limitations. He realized the complexities involved in reducing to mathematical forms of expression a host of cultural, social, legal and other factors affecting economic activity.


“His habit was to enrich the present by visualizing it in relation to similarities in the past, often in a way that was enlivened by a quiet wit,” he added.


Born in Solon, Ohio in 1922, Dewey received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1943 and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1947. He also attended the London School of Economics from 1948 to 1949. A senior Fulbright research scholar from 1956 to 1957, Dewey also served as an assistant and associate professor at Duke University from 1950 to 1959.