Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Russell Investments, was found dead at the side of a highway that leads to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. He was 50.
He may have jumped over a 4-foot fence before falling down a 40- to 50-foot embankment, Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer said. He said the death appeared to be a suicide.
Dueker was reported missing on Jan. 29, and a group of friends had been searching for him along with law enforcement. Troyer said the economist was having problems at work, without elaborating. Dueker was in good standing at Russell, said Jennifer Tice, a company spokeswoman. She declined to comment on Troyer’s statement about Dueker's work issues.
"We were deeply saddened to learn today of the death," Tice said in an e-mail. "He made valuable contributions that helped our clients and many of his fellow associates."
Dueker worked at Seattle-based Russell for five years, and developed a business-cycle index that forecast economic performance. He was previously an assistant vice president and research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
He published dozens of research papers over the past two decades, many on monetary policy, according to the St. Louis Fed's website, which ranks him among the top 5 percent of economists by number of works published. His most-cited work was a 1997 paper titled "Strengthening the case for the yield curve as a predictor of U.S. recessions," published by the reserve bank while he was a researcher there.
"He was a valued colleague of mine during my entire tenure at the St. Louis Fed," said William Poole, who was president of the reserve bank from 1998 to 2008. “Everyone respected his professional skills and good sense.”
Dueker earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington, a master's in that field from Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in math from the University of Oregon.
Russell is owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. The company manages more than $246 billion and calculates benchmark indexes such as the Russell 3000.
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