Aiyagari, professor of economics, dies

S. Rao Aiyagari, University professor of economics, died unexpectedly May 20. He had collapsed while playing tennis on campus.

Aiyagari, a resident of Pittsford, joined the faculty last September. His research focused primarily on macroeconomics and monetary theory.

Born in India, Aiyagari, 45, was educated there until he attended graduate school in the United States.

"This is a tremendous loss to his family, friends, colleagues, students and the profession as a whole," said Michael Wolkoff, acting chairman of the economics department. "In the short time Rao was here, he made significant contributions to the department. Rao fit in so well in the department. He was happy to be here and we were so happy to have him."

Aiyagari was widely regarded as one of the top macroeconomists of his generation, and his work was distinguished by its clarity of thought and presentation, said Wolkoff.

Aiyagari received his doctorate in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1981, and also held master's degrees in economics and physics.

Among his published works are important papers on asset prices and returns, capital taxation, government debt and the theory of money. Aiyagari is credited with making a number of significant contributions to the way macroeconomists think about their studies.

Prior to joining the University, Aiyagari was the senior research officer in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in Minnesota. He also had held appointments at New York University, the University of Wisconsin, and Carnegie-Mellon University.

He is survived by his wife, Jyotsna Gorti; a daughter, Meera; and a son, Dileep, all of Pittsford, and siblings. Funeral services were private.

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