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Mike Maloney
Department of Economics

Remembering Mike Maloney

Memorial Service Information

The Memorial Service for Mike Maloney will be held at 3:00 p.m in the atrium of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business at Clemson University. A reception for friends and family will follow.

The Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business is located across the street from Bowman Field at 225 Walter T. Cox Blvd. As the date approaches, we will provide additional details and parking information. Should Clemson University change its COVID-19 protocols, the event will be held outside to allow for appropriate social distancing.

In His Own Words - Mike Maloney

A Window on the History of the Clemson Economics Department

by Michael T. Maloney

March 17, 2021

Mike Maloney sitting by fireplace with dog.

I was born in Jackson Mississippi on December 7, 1949, on Pearl Harbor day. My father was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. My greatest regret in life is not querying him more about that chaotic event. All he ever said was that he was shaving for Mass when the first bombs went off.

I got my Ph.D. at LSU. I had a field in quantitative methods (management department). After the qualifying exam, I was sure I failed, but instead, they passed me with distinction. Sometimes, you just never know. From that same department, I took a simulation class. The final was a take-home problem that we were to simulate in FORTRAN. I got a program to compile but the answers wouldn't converge. I shared it with my friends who hadn't even gotten that far. In the end, I just turned it in. My friends turned it in, too, but stapled fake output to the back showing a solution. They got A's; I got a B. You just have to laugh.

I came to Clemson in ’74. I came passing up better offers because I liked what the people here were doing. I met Bobby McCormick on my first visit and we became fast friends from then on. My major professor at LSU was part of the cohort of grad students at UVa when Jim Buchanan and Gordon Tullock were there. There was and is a strong UVa influence in the Clemson Economics department.

Mike Maloney fishing.

Bruce Yandle was department head1, Hugh Macaulay was the senior member, Wallace Travillian (UVa) was dean, and Clint Whitehurst, who wrote for Coase at UVa, was the senior member of the industrial management department. On my recruitment visit, we were chatting in the hall about some nuance of the Coase Theorem. Hugh said something and I said, “That's just wrong.” Hugh immediately went to the dean and said, “Hire that boy.” It was a lively department.

Bobby went to Texas A&M the next year where he wrote for Bob Tollison. He came back for a year and then went to Rochester for several. I slipped off to Emory in 1981. Matt Lindsay, also a Buchanan student, had left UCLA and moved to his childhood home in Atlanta. Emory had just gotten a boatload of Coca-Cola money. Matt talked me into joining him. But then Clemson got a new dean, Ryan Amacher, UVa classmate of Matt and Bob, got some money and hired Bob. Tollison got Bobby to come back and Bobby got me to come back. Shortly after, we got some more money and were able to bring Matt to Clemson. Bob left (still in his wanderlust stage—he came back after a while) but Bobby, Matt, and I stayed.

The biggest thing that happened in those early days was that we started the Ph.D. program. It was an outgrowth of the Ph.D. in Ag Econ which had been around for some time. Some (not all) of the ag guys thought that the econ department was gaining national recognition and saw value for students in making the program joint between the departments. I was tasked with forging that link, which by fits and starts I did. The final step was taken in a joint meeting of the two departments chaired by the provost, David Maxwell (also an economist and dean at TAMU when Bobby and Bob were there). The meeting was raucous but the final vote, with some significant dissent among the ag guys, was in favor of the joint program.

Mike Maloney and dog.

The next year I took over as department head and recruited our first set of Ph.D. students. I promptly lost all my hair worrying about how we would get them jobs. We have had a lot of great graduate students both Masters and Ph.D. Mark Mitchell was our first Ph.D. graduate and has been demonstrably successful, but a core part of the Clemson spirit, which was here when I came, was and is to encourage students to enjoy scholarship for its own sake. I think all of our graduate students have been successful in that regard, and I take great pride in all of their accomplishments large and small. I remember talking to Mark about coming back to do a Ph.D. He had just finished his master's here and was mowing grass at his parents' restaurant in Louisiana.

Getting the Ph.D. program off the ground was a big deal, but hiring was too. Matt and I were largely focused on hiring and filling the chair Bob Tollison had left. Senior hiring is really hard. If you want them, they don't want you, and if they want you, you don't want them. I think that everyone will say we got fabulously lucky to have hired Don Gordon. Don was a world-class scholar. He had an intellect that was penetrating and he was a sociable fellow who became a part of our convivial crowd. Matt has to get all the credit for talking Don into coming to Clemson. Because Don came, we were able to attract Bill Dougan and Skip Sauer, who both had their own dynastic influence on the department.

Mike Maloney and dog.

Funny story about Skip: on his recruiting visit, Don and I were at one end of a long table and Skip was at the other in a heated exchange with some group. At one point Skip stood up and said, “You all are the stupidest bunch of people I have ever been around.” Don turned to me and said, “Hire that boy.”

On research, an academic vita tells its own story. Nonetheless, I think a few points are worth noting. “Bubbles and Efficiency,” with Bruce Yandle, Regulation, May/June 1980: This paper came from some data Bruce got from DuPont on engineering estimates of the cost of 75% pollution control of each point source across their entire enterprise. We came up with a way of turning that into a cost function for variable levels of control and showed the cost advantage of cleaning up some more than others. This was the genesis of tradeable emission rights.

Mike Maloney with dog Maggie.

“A Positive Theory of Environmental Quality Regulation,” with R.E. McCormick, Journal of Law & Economics, April 1982: This paper has some pretty interesting theory that generalizes an idea in a paper by Buchanan & Tullock. I recall Tullock being impressed that we had written the theory before we found his paper. I also recall one of Bobby's Rochester colleagues being annoyed at us for screaming at each other as I was trying to tell Bobby why I was right and he was wrong about the theoretical structure. Might have been the reverse. This paper was also one of the first to set off the stock-market, event-study tsunami.

“The Complexity of Price Discovery in an Efficient Market: The Stock Market Reaction to the Challenger Crash,” with Harold Mulherin, Journal of Corporate Finance, Sept. 2003: Harold (RIP) and I picked up this investigation after one of my master's students did an event study of the Challenger disaster. We worked on it for more than ten years before we got what we thought was a good story with convincing evidence. I hired Harold over the phone on a 2nd hand recommendation from Ben Klein through Matt and because he was from Savannah. Harold was fun to work with. We also played hard, especially while fishing, and especially with Skip.

1Bruce wrote for Jim Miller, UVa classmate of Tollison and Lindsay.

Tribute to a Fallen Friend

Mike Maloney was a special brand of person. Deeply personal, Howard Rourkian in nature, but with an educator’s zeal and a true heart of gold. He represented the best of the human spirit with a love of life and his amazing generosity of spirit. Clemson University was made better in countless ways by the daily toil and dedication of Mike Maloney.

Mike started at Clemson at a time when the department was small but deeply intellectual and passionate. It was a marriage made in heaven because on a regular basis Mike felt like he was the luckiest guy to get paid to have all the fun he did in the classroom, the study hall and late-night conversations. His academic capacity was only surpassed by his passion for his students. The hallmark of a Clemson education is the relationship that students have with faculty. It is the prime feature that distinguishes Clemson from a lot of other really good schools. Mike was the embodiment of that attitude and caring. Students came first, last and all points in between. He
would adopt the best and the worst. To him, coming from humble beginnings, education was the way for humans to thrive and flourish. And, to him, it was about the deeds and not the words. For sure, he walked the talk way more than the talked the walk.

Mike was undauntable. If there was something that should be done, he would start work. He created the Economics Ph.D. program almost out of whole cloth. On one occasion, he arranged a truck and trailer rescue operation for family overcome by Hurricane Katrina when the entire federal government was paralyzed. His sometimes gruff exterior was fake to cover his soft and compassionate interior.

Mike lived to watch the sunrise on Miami after we beat Nebraska in January 1982 to the astonishment of most of the football world. And, he lived to see two more national championships. His seats in Memorial Stadium were his and his alone since the upper deck was built. Nobody else ever had those seats but he and Marty. As I said, he lived a truly full life, and anybody else who did would also die in peace as he did.

He made Mr. Clemson proud. He was a farmer and a mechanic, and The Will came alive in him. Mike was my best friend not to be replaced. I love all and everything about him, and my life will never be quite the same without him. I could count on Mike for whatever I needed and whenever I called, no questions asked. I am sad that we will never again make sawdust together. RIP.

Bobby McCormick
Professor and Dean Emeritus
John E. Walker Department of Economics
Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business
Clemson University

August 4, 2021
Clemson SC

In Memory of Mike Maloney

by Skip Sauer

July 30, 2021

I first met Mike in Chicago in the winter of 1988 in an interview for a position at Clemson. It was the last one of the day. I remember almost no job interviews in my career, but this was my introduction to Mike and Clemson, and my life changed as a result. We talked some about my research work -- the normal pitter-patter -- and quite a bit more about economics in general. It was a stimulating conversation, and then something unusual happened. Don Gordon, the only other person there, opened the hotel room's refrigerator and pulled out a Heineken. The conversation continued well beyond the scheduled time.

Mike built a great economics department here, and he held it together against the odds. I won't go into the details, but I'll tell you a story that fits my theme. I remember running into Chicago's Sherwin Rosen, a great economist who also died before his time. It was at an AEA meeting in the early 2000s after he'd visited here. Coming upon me he was literally beaming, and said: "Hello, Clemson!" He was happy to see me on account of his experience here, despite not recalling my name.

There was a lot that went into that moment, in particular Bill Dougan's recruitment of Sherwin, as well as Ronald Jones and now Al Harberger, to teach courses as Visiting Professors at Clemson. Our students have been blessed by the opportunity to learn from such great scholars, Mike included. Read the testimonials posted by economics students, and alumni from the Clemson Sailing Club, and you will get a sense of Mike's contributions to the lives of Clemson students.

All of us who were here at the time know that none of this would have happened without Mike's vision and commitment to building an excellent economics department. All of us now in the department owe a huge debt to Mike. We are part of his legacy.

There are many memories. Friday seminars and the post-seminar discussions, many going late again, at Matt Lindsay's or Mike's or Don's house. A tradition of hosting international students for Thanksgiving dinner, the great American holiday. Crawfish boils and fried turkeys, sauteed shrimp with red pepper flakes, a specialty, and beef wellington, a successful recent experiment.

And many boats. Mike loved being on the water, fishing or sailing, especially on the ocean. Cup O’ Sugar was named after a sailing adventure with his wife Marty and Bobby McCormick. Mike won sailboat races with Cup O’ Sugar and our late colleague Richard Thompson, and with Casey Mulligan on his boat Supply & Demand, in a race around Long Island.

Moon Pie was the name of our first fishing boat. It was a classic hull that was undervalued by the market at the time.

Mike's favorite fishing story was when we pulled up the Moon Pie to our spot at the Broad River Bridge. This was during the old cobia season and the fishing flotilla was there, a score of boats lined up at the bridge. The people on the boats were all still. It was siesta time. Mike cruised up from the sound and rather boldly slipped into our spot in the midst of the flotilla. I dropped the anchor before anyone noticed, and we instantly landed two cobia. The siestas were over. Everyone wondered what kind of voodoo was going on, including us.

There was a giant tarpon that towed the Moon Pie offshore from Racoon Key. Mike thought we might capsize on the sandbars that day, but we caught the fish and made it back in.

There was the sight of five stingrays surfing in formation like fighter planes, on the slow-rolling swells off Bay Point. When my time comes to pass I will remember that moment with Mike.

Mike was unique in so many respects. He fixed cars before computers took over, and built computers before people imagined such a thing. After he retired, Mike built a place called "The Folly" and gave shelter dogs a home there. A sawmill too, which he used to cut South Carolina logs into boards that made their way to Bobby's Montana home, with Mike at the helm.

Mike took care of people he knew when they faced adversity. A Clemson alumnus in Miami who fell on hard times, the family of his PhD student in Turkey, his relatives in Mississippi after a hurricane. These are a small sample of the instances where Mike stood up to help others. It's happenstance I know of these, and there are certainly many more. He never asked for compensation or recognition of any kind.

Mike loved history and knew more about the last two millennia than most of us can fathom. He loved economic theory and empiricism. He loved anyone who would listen, engage, or work on something with him. Most of all Mike loved his family. He made students, colleagues, and their children all feel part of his family too.

Mike is the best mentor I have ever known. He was so good at so many things and shared his knowledge with countless people. He was and remains an inspiration.

By Miren Ivankovic

I believe that I met Mike for the first time on the hallways of the Sirrine Hall before our Econ 901, Price Theory class, but I cannot bet on it.

It was refreshing to sit in Professor Maloney's Price Theory class and learn numerous novel concepts from him. His lectures were succinct and his notes, which he would provide for us, were impeccable. I was amazed at how well he managed the Word processor with all the Greek letters and other symbols he used.

Years later, once we got to know each other better, he was very supportive of my initial struggles with a couple of qualifying exams. He summoned me to his office and went over one of the exams (mind you, those consisted of a large number of pages) and after pointing out my weaknesses, he stated that he is certain that I was going to do well the next time and get my passing grade. Additionally, he encouraged me to hang on and study more.

Over the next few years, I learned that we both shared a taste for good French bread, salty water, good Italian paintings, music and tennis. Mike played a good game of racquetball, but we connected on the CU YMCA hard court where we would hit a bunch of tennis balls and then drink a lot of Gatorade.

By early 1994, it was obvious to me that Mike would be a perfect person to chair my dissertation committee. He was very excited about my research interest and the topic. He not only helped me with paying for the data set but also programmed it into SAS in a format that we could do regressions and other useful statistical analyses. I can only imagine how many hours he spent sorting raw data and setting it up for analysis. The best I could do, when our paper was published, was to thank him in the footnote since Mike refused to be listed as a coauthor.

Since I never left Clemson after my Ph.D. graduation, we stayed in touch, and slowly became friends. We played some more tennis and drove to Atlanta on several occasions to see some of the Braves games. Mike was such a gentleman and endlessly generous, so he insisted to pay for the entry tickets and the food. All I had to do was drive back, which wasn't easy since he had this giant vehicle that I was not used to driving. Those were fun days, which I will always cherish. These priceless memories will always live in my heart.

On one of the trips to Saint Andrew's Catholic Church to attend the Christmas Eve service, we ran into Mike's wife Marty and daughter Mame, who invited us to their house after church. Well, that turned into a tradition. I have to say that I always enjoyed Mike's presence since I could always learn something, or left thinking about it for a while. Diana and I visited him a few times at his goat farm. I was amazed at his skill to build a road bicycle and that he survived a tornado that flew over his head (the same car we drove to Braves baseball games saved him). When I got seriously into long-distance running, he would tell me that I am too skinny and should eat more potato chips or something. He always made me laugh, and he cheered me up no matter what mood I was in to begin with.

I have so many more stories to tell that I could go on and on talking about my adventures with Mike. Once he retired, I did not see him as much since he stopped coming to the seminars. We drove a couple of times to Harris Dinner and had a good talk. At one of those, and he might have been a bit tipsy, he told me that he considered me to be his good friend. It meant a lot to me to hear that, regardless of his state of mind. I considered him to be my good friend, too.

His last email touched me deeply. It was just unexpected, too early, and out of the blue. He was saying goodbye forever, to me. I will never forget my advisor and friend Dr. Maloney. I am convinced that to a large degree, he is responsible for my standard of living and what today I can provide for my family and others.

Thank you, Mike. Rest in peace, my dear friend!

From Students and Friends of Mike Maloney

He made such an impact on my life and I'm so grateful for his unexpected assistance more than once as a grad student. RIP Mike. Forgot to add he inspired me to learn how to cook red beans and rice. And brew beer.
Cora Moore Barnhart

RIP Mike. Thanks for all the help through the years.
Rey Hernández

Mike was one of a kind. He was such a big part of my graduate school experience and a wonderful teacher.
Laura Speake

Prof Maloney was a great encouragement to me during my time at Clemson. Sad to hear he has passed, a great teacher and human being.
I'John Gatewood

Sorry to hear. Really enjoyed his classes. Good man.
Mark Mead

He is so kind and generous! I know his kindness from my early time in doctorate program.
Akif Aydin

Oh, man. This makes me so sad.
Haro Setian

RIP Mike.
Doru Cojoc

Mike was always quick with a humorous story and delivered the punchline in a way that only Mike could. He was instrumental in creating the Ph.D. program and will be deeply missed.
Sean Mulholland

Dr. Maloney leaves a great legacy for what is, in my opinion, the finest department at Clemson University. A man that was always interested first in the student standing before him.
Edwin Crow

I got to know Mike as a scholar while taking his graduate price theory class. It was that class when I truly began to understand the fundamental mapping between theoretical and empirical economics. After his lectures, abstract concepts made sense to me and I understood how they applied to the real world. Later, I got to know Mike as a good friend. He and I attended baseball and football games together, and even a few golf tournaments. I'll cherish those memories (and the funny stories that came with them!) forever. We've lost a great scholar and friend.
Frank Limehouse

Mike was the reason I came to Clemson. He wined and dined me (at Blue Heron, one of his favorites) with a bunch of current Clemson grad students. He made me feel important and that I could make a contribution at Clemson and in the field of Economics. As grad coordinator, I am not sure there can be better. He not only found good students, but fun people to join the program.
Danielle Zanzalari

Heartbroken.
Anna Chorniy

I'm so sorry to hear this. He was part of what made the Clemson Experience so great.
Gary Grizzle

So sad! He will be deeply missed!
Anca M. Cotet

He loved us all dearly. RIP Professor Maloney!
Adrian Stavaru

No one could tell a story like Mike, and I can still hear his voice rising in pitch when coming to the educational punch line.
Craig Stroup

Impossible to overstate the impact that Mike had on my life. First a teacher, briefly a boss, always a friend. I'll miss him so much. RIP Mike.
Mo Tinsley

I am so sorry. Mike has been so kind to all international students. We feel loved and cared for in this remote country because Mike had invited us to his house, celebrated festivals with us, treated us with his unique humor and hospitality. I will miss you deeply!
Grace Li

It is heartbreaking. I learned so much from him and he had such an impact on my life. He was a great mentor and a generous and funny person. I did not get to tell him how important he was to me. RIP dear Professor, you live in my mind and heart.
Oana Diaconu

Mike looked out for kids like they were his own. He did that for lots of folks. His generosity is what sticks out to me. Never expecting anything in return. I had a micro class with him in 1974 when I was a freshman. He was probably 23 or 24 and in the final throes of defending his dissertation, some esoteric tome that was out of my league. We have been friends ever since.
Stew Tedford

Dr. Maloney is the one who made me like graduate school, economics, Clemson, USA, Americans and all human beings. If I am given the opportunity in the afterlife, I will certainly testify to him as one of the best humans.
Kadir Civan

Mike was the first person I connected with at Clemson after I applied to the Ph.D. program. He was very friendly and answered all my questions. I never had him as a professor as he stepped away from teaching after my first year, but I always enjoyed chatting with him at various department social events. RIP.
Adam Millsap

This is heartbreaking news. Like everybody, I took his financial econ class and the research seminar, and I listened to his stories at Nick's and at the many department parties. But I also received two signed letters from Mike Maloney during my time at Clemson. One was nice, the other helpful. The nice one came after I passed the IO exam; the helpful one came after I defended my dissertation. He had things to say and he numbered them. I remember off the top of my had a couple – "1. Too many tables! Nobody cares. 2. Don't turn your back to the audience!" It was all solid advice, delivered straight. I will miss him a lot.
Gabi Huiber

Heartbreaking news indeed. Mike was one of a kind. I had the privilege of having him for Price Theory and I remember he made us work through a paper that supposedly demonstrated the existence of a Giffen good. We worked and worked through it and, with his help, came to the conclusion that there was a mistake. Mike contacted the author (whom he knew) and let us know a while later that he never heard back. More than Economics, Mike was a huge part of the Clemson Econ spirit that is inimitable and that has shaped me as an Economist maybe more than classes did. Also, (dare I say) camaraderie with graduate students was like nothing I have ever seen. Lessons from those times together in seminars and at Nick's are a huge component of whatever success I have had since I left. Mike, along with you Skip, and others were instrumental in teaching us about life as well as Economics. It was a true pleasure interacting with all of you in and out of class, and you all imprinted on me the importance of actually being friends with you. And yes, when Mike and Skip were together there was fun to be had, whether it involved Economics or home improvement :). Thank you Mike for everything, but most of all for starting the Ph.D. program. I am incredibly lucky to be a graduate.
Aleksandar Tomic

Mike was one of the favorite professors and advisors of our class. He was an avid supporter of the sailing club and enjoyed spending time out there when he had it. I remember at least two occasions where he and I took the large C&C sailboat out sailing together and talked about life and of course a little bit of economics.
Blake Shiver, Applied Economics

Mike was a great asset to the Clemson community and in particular to the sailing club. From donating bushels of oysters for our annual oyster roast to helping us find a trailer for transporting club supplies he was always a helpful mentor to those leading the club while I was there. During my time leading the club, his support/involvement provided much-needed support and peace of mind knowing he was there as a resource. Outside of the club, it was great to get to know him at his farm and see him working out there surrounded by all his beloved dogs and goats.
Dale Strong
Clemson Sailing Club Commodore 2015
Clemson Sailing Club Race Team Captain Fall 2013-Fall 2014

I only knew Mike Maloney for a short period of time but he made a great impact on myself and the sailing club. He was an extremely generous man who spent a good bit of time mentoring several members of the sailing club. He was generous with his time and expertise to the sailing club helping support the club on multiple occasions when the club was in need.
Paige Nettles
Clemson University Class of 2015
Sailing Club Vice Commodore 2013-2014

Dr. Maloney was a generous donor, ardent supporter and active participant in the sailing club for over four decades. In an old scrapbook, I believe I have a picture of him with a ragtag bunch of sailors on the Clemson docks from the ’70s or ’80s! He was a welcome guest at the club and often brought along his furry guests for a sail. Dr. Maloney served as a positive influence on students from multiple generations – I know he was at least the official club advisor before my time as Commodore and several years after. He will be dearly missed as an educator, student advocate and sailor.
Will Duncan

Mike was always a role model for all of us sailors. He provided an opportunity for us to excel and grow as individuals. His support for the club allowed it to grow to what it is today.
Alexander Smolka
Race Team Class of 2014

I remember Mike from my time with the Clemson Sailing Team. He was often down by the dock letting his dogs Winston and Maggie run around. Mike was so supportive of the team. He was always willing to lend a hand or let us use his trailer for our workdays. Most importantly the team was in dire need of new boats at the time and Mike made the first large donation to jumpstart our fundraising efforts. Without his help, I do not think we would have been able to purchase the boats we did before I graduated. One of the first boats was named "Winston" as a thank-you to Mike. He was a wonderful man and will forever have a place of honor down at the sailing club.
Reid Cabiness
Class of 2012
Sailing Club President 2011-2012

I met Mike at the sailing club when he would bring his 2nd in command, Winston, to the lake. Winston was a grumpy old Boykin that liked very few people. Mike was one of the few that could assist his old, wet butt into the bed of his white truck. Somehow I gained Winston's trust and became another human he trusted and would allow to help him load up. Some might write that off to him softening up in his old age, but for Mike and I, that was the start of our bond over the love of dogs. For the rest of my time at Clemson and the sailing club, I would be at Mike's river property helping take care of the animals or bring them to the sailing club to enjoy the lake and boats.
Nadiya Klep

Mike was a friend to all at Clemson Sailing. He knew so many of the club's members really well, and he helped keep the club moving forward and in the right direction through both fair winds and stormy seas. I knew Mike during my time at Clemson from 2007-2011 and kept in touch with him for several years after as the Sailing Club transitioned to new leadership. Mike was always generous to the club and its leadership team; he was kind and patient (we were kids running an organization, after all!), good-natured and donated both his time and resources to ensure the Club had what it needed to function properly and safely. Above all else, he always made sure that the students that participated in the Sailing Club's activities (especially the club's leadership or "officers" throughout his years overseeing the Club) were 1) having fun (responsibly!) and 2) were learning while we led. The Sailing Club is and forever will be grateful for Mike's kindness, generosity, leadership and friendship. There are hundreds of Clemson alumni that would join me in saying that we'll miss Mike Maloney.
Austin Clary
Clemson Finance Class of 2011
Commodore of the Clemson Sailing Club from 2009-2010

John E. Walker Department of Economics
John E. Walker Department of Economics | 320 Wilbur O. and Ann Powers Hall, Clemson, S.C., 29634