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 (1.2-meter) fence before falling down a 40- to 50-foot embankment, Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer said yesterday. 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 yesterday. “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.
Dueker worked at the reserve bank from 1991 to 2008, starting as an entry level research economist, then advancing to senior economist, research officer, and assistant vice president, according to Laura Girresch, a spokeswoman.
He helped the bank’s president prepare for Federal Open Market Committee policy meetings and wrote and edited for economic publications, she said. Dueker served as editor of the reserve bank’s research publication, Monetary Trends, and also was an associate editor of the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Girresch said.
“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.”
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.