Professor Alice Amsden Dies at 68

Alice H. Amsden, an expert in economic development who served as the Barton L. Weller Professor of Political Economy in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning, died suddenly on March 14 at her home in Cambridge. She was 68.

A prolific scholar, Amsden wrote extensively about the process of industrialization in emerging economies, particularly in Asia. Her work frequently emphasized the importance of the state as a creator of economic growth, and challenged the idea that globalization had produced generally uniform conditions in which emerging economies could find a one-size-fits-all path to prosperity.

"She will be sorely missed," said Amy K. Glasmeier, professor of geography and regional planning and head of MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. "Upon hearing the news, one student said to me, 'she was a titan' in the field of development. While others took the conventional way, Alice took another path. She was fearless. By any measure, Alice was one of the most, if not the most, accomplished heterodox economist in the world."

For the complete obituary from the MIT News Office, see In addition, both the MIT DUSP Linked In group and the MIT DUSP Facebook community include remembrances from alums, colleagues, and other friends.

On October 19, 2012, the Department will host a a day-long Symposium in MIT's new Media Lab honoring Alice's academic legacy, followed by a memorial celebration on the morning of October 20. Program details will be announced in early September. For more information, please see