Eric David Bovet, 99, who worked in government from 1935 to 1970, the last eight years at the Interior Department as chief of the Office of Saline Water's research division, died of pneumonia Jan. 22 at Eldercare Gardens nursing home in Charlottesville. He lived in the Washington area from the mid-1930s until moving to Charlottesville in 1990.
Dr. Bovet also wrote several books on economics, including "The Dynamics of Business Motivation," published in 1963 by Cleaver-Hume Press, and "Stagflation: The Penalty of Speculative Production in a Multistage Economy," published in 1983 by Lexington Books. The former advanced his long-held theory, in the pre-Internet age, that a business's profits are not efficiently maximized because information about price changes and consumer demand is not transmitted quickly or accurately enough.
After leaving government, Dr. Bovet was a freelance economic consultant until 1990.
He was born in Germany with Swiss citizenship and became an American citizen in 1933. He did undergraduate and graduate studies in Europe and received an economics doctorate degree in 1953 from the University of Geneva.
Dr. Bovet moved to the United States in 1927, and his jobs included teaching French at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and Teachers College at Columbia University.
In Washington, he worked as an economist and statistician at the National Resources Committee in the 1930s and the Navy secretary's office from 1941 to 1947.
In the 1950s, Dr. Bovet did statistical work with the Defense Department, the National Production Authority and the Navy Department.
He was a member of Mount Vernon Unitarian Universalist Church in Alexandria.
Dr. Bovet became an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister in 1981 but never was a practicing clergyman.
His hobbies included composing classical music.
Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Ethel Mae Lindsey of Charlottesville; two daughters, Astrid Bovet "Triddy" Wilfong of Burke and Marguerite Lynn Bovet "Meg" Mesesan of Charlottesville; two sons, David Marc Bovet of Lexington, Mass., and Raymond Paul Bovet of Longmont, Colo.; a half-brother; a half-sister; and four grandchildren.