Le décès de Rudi Dornbusch survenu le 25 juillet, à l'âge de 60 ans, nous prive d'un grand économiste et d'un homme exceptionnel.

Né à Krefeld, en Allemagne, c'est là qu'il grandit. Il commença ses études à l'Université de Genève et les compléta avec un doctorat de l'Université de Chicago en 1971. Il enseigna à l'Université de Rochester entre 1972 et 1974, avant de retourner à l'Université de Chicago en qualité de maître de conférence rattaché au programme doctoral de l'École de commerce en 1974-75. En 1975 il accepta l'offre de la faculté d'économie du MIT, où il enseignait jusqu'à son décès.

Les sujets autant que le style de ses premiers travaux reflétaient l'influence de son propre directeur de recherches de doctorat, Robert Mundell. Son sujet portait sur les taux de change, la production et les taux d'intérêt. Son style était élégant et plus simple qu'il n'y paraissait, avec des modèles complexes réduits à l'interaction de deux courbes, connues pendant quelque temps, en fait, sous le nom de « diagrammes de Dornbusch ». Nombre de ses premiers articles sont rassemblés dans l'ouvrage Open Economy Macroeconomics (la théorie macroéconomique des économies ouvertes), un classique publié en 1980.

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