John H. Makin, an economist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who spent more than a decade as an adviser to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office and Treasury Department, died March 30 in New York City. He was 71.
The cause was cancer, said Veronique Rodman, a spokeswoman at the Washington-based research organization.
Dr. Makin was a prolific author and wrote the AEI’s monthly Economic Outlook, which included research and his views on current economic topics.
“Few embodied the spirit of free enterprise better than John,” Arthur Brooks, AEI’s president, said in a statement on the group’s Web site, “and his lively wit and good humor — which endured throughout his battle with cancer — made him a true AEI institution.”
A University of Chicago-educated economist, Dr. Makin served for two decades as chief economist, and later as a principal, at Caxton Associates, a New York-based hedge fund, ending in 2010, according to Rodman. The firm has $8.2 billion in assets under management, according to its Web site.
In his most recent AEI commentary, titled “Pity the Fed,” Dr. Makin said the central bank had painted itself into a corner, moving toward tightening monetary policy while many other countries are easing.
“The Fed has positioned itself to start raising rates by mid-year,” he wrote last month, citing the Fed’s emphasis on improved employment figures. “The trouble is that nearly every other economic number — capital spending, retail sales, net exports — has been weak.”
John Holmes Makin was born May 29, 1943, in Brattleboro, Vt. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., in 1965. He received a master’s degree and a PhD in economics, both at the University of Chicago, completing his studies in 1970. Among his professors at Chicago was Milton Friedman, who won the 1976 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
Since joining AEI in 1984, Dr. Makin also served on the Panel of Economic Advisers in the Congressional Budget Office from 1984 to 1994. He served at the Treasury Department’s office of tax analysis from 1986 to 1988 and was a consultant at the International Monetary Fund from 1981 to 1983.
He was also a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in the late 1970s and taught at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, the University of Virginia, the University of British Columbia and, from 1978 to 1984, the University of Washington.
Survivors include his wife of 31 years, Gwendolyn van Paasschen of Washington; a daughter, Jane Makin of Chicago; and a sister.