Deaths | July 1, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - July 1, 2011


Gerald M. Meier

Gerald M. Meier, a leading economist and former Stanford business and economics professor, died from complications of a brain tumor at his home on the Stanford campus June 21.

He was born in Tacoma, Wash., in 1923, and graduated from Reed College in 1947. He became a Rhodes Scholar in 1948, studied economics at Oxford, and received a PhD in that field from Harvard in 1953, according to a statement from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Before coming to Stanford, he taught at Oxford, Williams, Wesleyan and Yale universities. He taught Stanford business and economics students from 1962 until 2005.

His 1964 text, "Leading Issues in Economic Development," has been translated to seven languages and is taught in classrooms around the globe.

He specialized in development economics: the study of the economies of developing nations.

In his book "Emerging from Poverty: The Economics That Really Matters," he wrote: "We worry in this book about what can realistically be done to lessen the pain of poverty still suffered daily by two-thirds of humanity. Two centuries after the industrial revolution, only a few countries have become rich, while more than 100 nations are poor."

He authored more than 34 books and lectured frequently at universities around the world. As a consultant to the World Bank, he served on three Bank missions to China.

"Gerry Meier was a major contributor to the field of development economics with a worldwide reputation," said colleague George G.C. Parker, Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, Emeritus, in the statement.

"His arrival on the faculty strengthened our international economics curriculum in a major way. Professor Meier was widely traveled and was among the most in-demand leaders of student study trips to the developing world. His enthusiasm for all things international made him a role model for international scholars at the school."

He is survived by his wife, Gretl Slote of Stanford; sons, David E. Meier of Boston, Mass., Daniel R. Meier of Berkeley, Calif., Jeremy Meier of Sacramento, Calif., and Andrew Meier of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and six grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial service are pending. The Gerald M. Meier Book Award, an annual prize to honor excellence in undergraduate economics, has been established at Reed College and University College at Oxford University. Similar awards are being created by the family at Stanford University, and Wesleyan University. Donations may be made to the funds through the family at 774 Santa Ynez, Stanford, CA 94305.


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