Richard F. Dye

Ernest A. Johnson Professor of Economics, Emeritus

Richard Dye grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, a Midwestern suburb with enough similarities to Chicago’s north shore that his move to Lake Forest College in 1983 felt like a homecoming.  Lake Forest College remained his home until his retirement in 2007.  He was the Ernest A. Johnson Professor of Economics.   

He graduated with Highest Honors in Economics from Kenyon College in 1967 and his passions for economics and for the special educational experience of a small liberal arts college were formed there. He earned an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, served as a Supply Officer in the U.S. Navy, and then returned to Michigan for a Ph.D. in economics. His thesis on the incentive effects of the federal income tax deduction for charitable contributions won the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Government Finance and Taxation award from the National Tax Association in 1977. He remained active in the National Tax Association throughout his career, serving on its board for six years. 

Prior to coming to Lake Forest College, Professor Dye was a Brookings Institution Economic Policy Fellow working at the Social Security Administration and taught at Bowdoin College. Beginning with his first sabbatical from Lake Forest College in 1990, most of his research and public outreach activities have been done in association with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. From 2004 on he also held the position of Visiting Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

Professor Dye taught a number of courses at the college, including public finance, urban economics, a senior seminar on Social Security and pensions, macroeconomic theory, and principles of economics.  He served twice as chair of the Department of Economics and Business.

After coming to Lake Forest College, Professor Dye’s research blossomed when he developed a specialty in state and local government finance as it relates to urban economic development.  Some of the topics of his later research were property tax limitations, tax increment financing, and residential housing teardowns.  His work was published widely, including in the National Tax Journal, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Regional Science, Growth and Change, Public Finance Quarterly, Economic Development Quarterly, Annals of Regional Science, Economics of Education Review, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and Eastern Economic Journal