Emeritus economics professor Asim Erdilek passes away

Emeritus faculty member Asim Erdilek passed away Sunday, Dec. 2.

Erdilek joined the faculty in 1971 as assistant professor of economics and later became a full professor before retiring as professor emeritus in July 2010. He served as chairman of the Department of Economics from 1991 to 1996.

Erdilek was raised on a small farm in western Turkey by parents with virtually no formal education. His success in school allowed him to attend a prestigious national boarding school in high school and then pursue studies at Brandeis University, where he was named valedictorian. He then began graduate studies at Harvard University, where he wrote his dissertation under the guidance of Wassily Leontieff, pioneer of input-output analysis.

Erdilek quickly recognized the limitations of the input-output technique for the question of global resource exhaustion, to which some wanted to apply it in the 1970s. His later scholarly work focused mainly on international trade and finance, and especially on the role of technological change and direct foreign investment. He also wrote regularly on the Turkish economy, both in the academic literature and as a regular columnist in Today’s Zaman, the major English language newspaper in Turkey, from 2007 into 2012.

Erdilek remained on the Case Western Reserve University faculty for his entire teaching career, with leaves for visiting positions at the Institute of World Economics in Kiel, the National Science Foundation and Bilkent University in Ankara.

Erdilek is survived by his wife, Serpil, and two daughters.