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McCombs Community Mourns Beloved Professor Steve Magee

Former finance chair made significant contributions to the business school and the larger academic community.

Not only was Steve Magee a prolific researcher and scholar, he was a gifted classroom teacher, well-known for coming up with creative and innovative ways to bring complex concepts to life.

The Texas McCombs community mourns the passing of Steve Magee, the James L. Bayless/Enstar Corporation Chair in Business Administration, whose career at the university spanned more than 45 years. Steve passed away Saturday, October 29, 2022 after bravely battling cancer for the past year.

Steve earned his Ph.D. from MIT and served on the faculties of the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago before coming to UT Austin as a finance professor. At UT, he contributed greatly to the Department of Finance, the business school, the university, and the broader community. His contributions include serving as chairman of the Department of Finance, teaching many undergraduate and graduate students, principally on microeconomics and international finance, advising a large number of doctoral students, and publishing more than 80 academic articles and three books. His teaching and research were recognized with awards, including an award for outstanding MBA core teaching and the highest school of business research award for outstanding research contributions. He was also known for connecting with his students in unexpected ways, such as in this YouTube video.

Steve contributed to the academic profession through his work on several editorial boards, including the Review of Economic Studies. He also served the country through his work as a member of President Lyndon Johnson’s Council of Economic Advisers and as adviser to the administrations of Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Bush.

Steve was particularly well known for his work on trade policy, having published on this topic from 1974 through 2019, and the Houthakker-Magee trade-balance effect was cited by Paul Krugman as “one of the most important empirical regularities in all of economics.” Steve particularly enjoyed intellectual competition, arguing on a broad range of topics, including trade policy, patents, and the economic effects of lawyers. His public arguments included a presentation before Fidel Castro on the virtues of capitalism and debates with attorney Joe Jamail before academic and judicial audiences on the optimal number of lawyers in an economy.

Steve’s competitive spirit was also evident in sports as he played soccer for years and was co-captain for the U.S. National Soccer Champions for men over age 50 and again later for men over age 60.

Steve always encouraged his colleagues and students in their teaching and research. In fact, he attended a brown bag seminar just a few weeks ago. He will be greatly missed. View his obituary here.

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