Edwin T. Haefele, professor emeritus of political science, died at his home in Alliance, Nebraska, on March 16, 2008, at the age of 82.
Mr. Haefele was appointed professor of political science in 1974. Dr. Jack Nagel, Steven F. Goldstone Endowed Term Professor of Political Science, described Mr. Haefele “as [a] social choice theorist, [who] used mathematics to analyze the abstract design of institutions, but also loved to trace their origins through unpredictable idiosyncracies of history.”
Before joining the department, Mr. Haefele was a senior scholar and research director at The Brookings Institution, and Resources for the Future. He became prominent in political science and political economy through the publication of “A Utility Theory of Representative Government” in the American Economic Review (1971) and his book, Representative Government and Environmental Management (1973).
At Penn, he taught courses in public policy and American government, initiating a joint dual BA/MA program for undergraduates in public policy, an opportunity that attracted John DiIulio (then a Penn undergraduate and now the Fox Leadership Professor of Political Science at Penn) and others to pursue politics and public policy as academic careers.
He took early retirement in 1983, but was persuaded to return to Penn as chair of the department of political science in 1985. His goal was to recruit new faculty in political theory and political institutions. After serving for three years, he returned to retirement in 1988 and moved with his wife, Ruth, to Nebraska.
Mr. Haefele was awarded a Purple Heart and Presidential Unit Citation for his service in the US Army; he served from 1943-46. His academic life was unusual in that although he attended Illinois Wesleyan University, 1946-48 and the University of Chicago from 1948-50, he did not have any university degrees, but became a tenured full professor and department chair based on the quality of his scholarship.
Mr. Haefele is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughters, Anne Haefele and Dorothy Odgren; and sons, Douglas and John Haefele.