Judith Tendler

We are saddened to report the news that Professor Emerita Judith Tendler passed away on July 25, 2016.

Judith Tendler was a development economist with an institutional bent. Starting in 1984, she served as Professor of Political Economy in the International Development Group of the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at MIT.

Judith graduated summa cum laude from the University of Michigan, followed by PhD work at Columbia University on a scholarship from the Ford Foundation. Before coming to MIT, she served as a program economist at the US Agency for International Development, first in Rio de Janeiro and then at USAID's Latin America Bureau, carrying out various field evaluations. Following this work she carried out various field-evaluation research studies in Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, South Africa, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles), and Egypt.

At MIT she ran five comparative research projects in Brazil that combined her field research with teaching, all funded by different Brazilian and international public agencies. These ventures led to various publications, dissertations, and theses. For this work, MIT awarded her two prizes in different years: the Irwin Sizer prize for “the most significant improvement in education at MIT,” and the Class of 1960 Award and Chair for “distinguished contributions to the instructional program and superbly innovative and effective work in educating graduate students under field conditions.”

In addition to numerous articles and other works, she published three books: Good Government in the Tropics, Inside Foreign Aid, and Electric Power in Brazil: Entrepreneurship in the Public Sector.

She retired from MIT in 2011, and her work and career were celebrated in a widely attended academic festschrift. (For learn more about this special event, and to download many of Judith's writings, see http://www.mit.edu/~tendler/fs/works.html.)