Dwight Jaffee, 1943-2016

A prominent academic expert on banking, mortgages and insurance has died

February 18, 2016
Obituary: Dwight Jaffee, 1943-2016

Dwight Jaffee was born in Chicago on 7 February 1943 and studied at Oberlin College (1960-61) before going on to a BA in economics at Northwestern University (1964).

He followed this with a PhD on “Credit Rationing and the Commercial Loan Market” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1968), where he also served as an instructor in the economics department (1967-68).

He then moved to Princeton University, where he rose through the ranks from assistant professor of economics (1968-72) to associate professor (1972-75) and finally full professor (1975-91).

After more than two decades at Princeton, however, Professor Jaffee took up a position at the University of California, Berkeley as professor of finance and real estate, acquiring the additional title of Willis Booth professor of banking, finance and real estate in 1998. He was also a member of the Finance Group at the Haas School of Business and co-chair of its Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics.

Shortly after joining Berkeley-Haas, Professor Jaffee also led a project with Saint Petersburg State University to create the first post-Soviet business school in Russia.

He rapidly established himself as a leading authority on mortgage markets, banking and risk – a field that soon became all too topical a subject – and he was called to testify before Congress in the hearings about the recent banking and housing crisis.

“Dwight Jaffee was a world-class scholar,” said Nancy Wallace, the other chair of the Fisher Center, and possessed “a razor-sharp intellect, which he applied with skill and grace in his efforts to affect the public policy debate on questions related to the causes of the financial crisis – which he had anticipated years before its onset”.

Later in his life, Professor Jaffee turned his attention to the problems of insuring against catastrophic events such as earthquakes or terrorist attacks. Given that the remote chance of a disaster means that insurers potentially need access to vast sums of capital, many understandably retreated from catastrophe insurance, so he asked what the role of governments was in trying to prop up such markets.

An adviser to many European central banks, Professor Jaffee was also the author of 171 papers and a number of books. Together with Ashok Bardhan and Cynthia Kroll, he wrote The Impact of Globalization in a High-Tech Economy (2003) and edited The Oxford Handbook of Offshoring and Global Employment (2013).

Professor Jaffee died on 28 January and is survived by his wife Lynne Heinrich, a daughter, a son and two grandchildren.

matthew.reisz@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Related universities

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest