September 26, 2019 at 1:26 pm

University Community Remembers Colleague Dr. Douglas Adie, Professor Emeritus of Economics

Douglas Adie, portrait

Dr. Douglas Adie

Dr. Douglas Adie, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Ohio University, passed away on Sept. 25.

Adie joined Ohio University in 1968 and earned tenure in 1971. He was promoted to professor in 1975 and retired in 2010 after 41 years of service.

“He continued to teach courses for us after he retired right up until 2017,” says Dr. William Shambora, Associate Professor and Chair of Economics. “He was an avid racquetball player and was in the Ping Center several times per week. He couldn’t wait to get back to the sport after he had knee surgery.”

Adie taught introductory courses such as micro- and macro-economics and upper-level courses including Managerial Economics, which he also developed for distance learning. He was a beloved adviser to students, often advising more than 40 students a year, including not only Economics students, but also many from the College of Business and University College.

Adie also was a policy adviser to the Heartland Institute and a resource affiliate with the Heritage Foundation, writing many op-ed pieces and testifying before legislative committees.

“Adie’s scholarly focus is on managerial economics and money and banking. In 1968, Adie received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago, where his dissertation, ‘Peel’s Act 1844 and the Currency-Banking School Controversy,’ was reviewed and approved by (Nobel Prize winners) Milton Friedman, George Stigler, and Robert Mundell,” according to his Heartland profile. He earned a B.A. from McMaster University.

“Doug was perhaps the only economist ever to have three Nobel laureates on his dissertation committee,” notes Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard Vedder. “Doug used to say he had four Nobel laureates he knew and worked with as a graduate student, namely the three mentioned above as well as Robert Fogel.” Two of those Nobel laureates, Mundell and Fogel, visited OHIO.

Adie wrote three books on economics and government reform: An Evaluation of Postal Service Wage Rates, Monopoly Mail: Privatizing the U.S. Postal Service, and The Mail Monopoly: Analyzing Canadian Postal Service. “His economic essays have appeared in journals such as The Economic History Review and Journal of Political Economy, and Adie’s work has been cited by government officials and agencies, both in the U.S. and abroad,” his Heartland profile continues.

In his book Monopoly Mail: Privatizing the United States Postal Service, Adie reviewed “the failures of the U.S. Postal Service, an inability to innovate, soaring labor costs, huge deficits, chronic inefficiency, and declining service standards. He blames most of these problems on the postal service’s monopoly status. Competition produces efficiency and innovation; monopoly breeds inefficiency, high costs and stagnation.”

“Doug’s work on the postal service received a fair amount of attention in his early career, and even led to discussion of postal reform in the U.S. He was prescient in his postal writings, anticipating the later growth in competition from firms like UPS and Federal Express,” Vedder adds.

He also is a member of the American Economic Association and the Mt. Pélèrin Society and was an adviser to the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions. He served on the international editorial board of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Adie was listed in “The Guide to Public Policy Experts,” on issues including

  • Minimum wage
  • Economic thought (in general)
  • Money and financial services
  • Privatization/contracting-out
  • The American founding
  • American history and political tradition
  • Regulatory reform

And Shambora recalls, “People on campus may have noticed a tall man with a white beard distributing free Gideon Bibles occasionally; that was Doug Adie.”

Adie is survived by his spouse, Delores, three children (Becca of Athens, Tim of Indianapolis and Steve of Minneapolis), and nine grandchildren.

Visitation followed by a service will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, at Hughes Funeral Home in Athens.

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