RFF Economist Stabbed to Death in Baltimore

Molly Macauley, a prominent economics researcher on space, science and climate issues at the Washington think tank Resources for the Future, was murdered while walking her two rescue dogs last Friday night around 11 p.m. in the upscale Baltimore neighborhood of Roland Park. According to police reports, she was stabbed and died at a local hospital. “She was transported to an area hospital where unfortunately she died from her injuries,” a local police official told WJZ.

Molly Macauley

Molly Macauley

WBAL reported that police have not identified any potential assailants and have no idea whether Macauley was targeted. Roland Park is a leafy, upper middle class neighborhood in Baltimore, where crime is rare. The Baltimore Sun reported, “This was the first homicide in years in the quiet, affluent neighborhood where Macauley lived. The incident happened on a street lined by large homes with well-manicured lawns and picturesque foliage.”

RFF spokesman Peter Nelson told WJZ, “When I think of what we lost, we just lost an extraordinarily kind person,” who loved Baltimore. “We’d say, ‘Come on, Molly, it’s such a long commute; why don’t you just move down here?’ She wouldn’t have it,” Nelson said.

In a blog posting Saturday, Nelson wrote, “For all of us at RFF this is devastating and an incredible shock. Molly was a respected, path-breaking economist, an esteemed leader, whip-smart, and profoundly kind.”

Macauley, 59, was vice president for research at RFF and a senior fellow. She was also a long-time adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she received a Ph.D. in economics in 1983. She had worked at RFF in Washington since receiving her doctorate.

RFF interim president Linda Fisher said, “Anyone who worked with her over the years can no doubt recall many moments of remarkable personal kindness and support. She deeply loved coming into RFF and giving her all to make it a better place, all the while working and laughing with her colleagues.” Phil Sharp, former president of the think tank who stepped down this summer after 10 years, and who appointed Macauley as vice president, said, “There is simply nobody I have worked with who is as hard-working and dedicated as she is.”

Macauley served on special committees of the National Academies of Science and was a trustee of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research on behalf of the National Science Foundation. Both UCAR and NCAR are located in Boulder, Colo.