Walther Lederer, 93, the former chief of the balance of payments division of the Commerce Department's bureau of economic analysis, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 26 at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital.
Mr. Lederer directed the balance of payments division from 1954 to 1969, a period in which the U.S. payments deficit began to generate national concern as it grew to record levels. Mr. Lederer was frequently called upon by congressional committees to testify and present papers on the deficit.
He began his career as a government economist in 1942, when he joined the Board of Economic Warfare, which later became the Foreign Economic Administration. He joined the balance of payments division at the Commerce Department in 1945 and left in 1969 for a position as senior economist at the office of the assistant secretary for international economic affairs at the Treasury Department, where he retired in 1976.
His awards included the Commerce Department's Gold Medal for exceptional service, which he received in 1960.
In retirement, Mr. Lederer continued to work as an unpaid consultant at the Federal Reserve Board's division of international finance and later at the division of research and statistics, office of flow of funds.
He was a member of the American Economic Association, the National Economist Club and the Society of Government Economists. Mr. Lederer, a resident of Fairfax, was born in Austria. He received a doctorate in economics and sociology from the University of Heidelberg in Germany in 1931.
In 1933, he emigrated to the United States, did postgraduate work at the University of Iowa and taught economics at Hunter College in New York, the University of Delaware and Queens College in New York before moving to Washington.
His marriage to Ruth Klein ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife of 33 years, Evelyn Parrish Lederer of Fairfax; two sons from his first marriage, Nicholas, of San Francisco, and Thomas, of Princeton, N.J.; a sister; and a granddaughter.