Albert Madansky Dies at 88; Gauged Risk of Unwitting Atomic War

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He returned to the University of Chicago as a faculty member in 1974 and served as associate dean and deputy dean from 1985 to 1993. He was named the H.G.B. Alexander Professor of Business Administration at the university’s Booth School of Business in 1996 and retired as professor emeritus in 1999.

He also served as director of the Centers for International Business and Education Research and editor in chief of its Journal of Business.

In 1956, he married Cara Yore; they divorced in 1986. In addition to their daughter Michele, Dr. Madansky is survived by his wife, Paula (Barkan) Madansky; three other children from his first marriage, Susan Groner, Cynthia Madansky, Noreen Ohcana; his stepchildren, Deborah Haizman, Rebecca Hirschfield and Jonathan Klawans; 13 grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

As the director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Management of Government and Nonprofit Enterprise, Dr. Madansky in 1975 was one of a number of prominent thinkers — among them Jane Jacobs, John Kenneth Galbraith, R. Buckminster Fuller and Milton Friedman — who were asked by The New York Times for suggestions for solving New York City’s fiscal crisis.

He asked whether the city government could squeeze more productivity from its work force rather than resorting to layoffs. New York offers so many services he said, adding: “It’s always been understood that because New York gives these services to the community, then New York wants them, but the people might prefer to see a fiscally sound city.”

In 1976, in collaboration with Martin Shubik, an American economist, Dr. Madansky released what may have been his most controversial statistical conclusion: the results of a blind taste-test of pastrami and corned beef sandwiches delivered to an office on East 54th Street from four of Manhattan’s pre-eminent delis: the Stage, Carnegie, Gaiety-East and Deli-East. The Deli-East won.

Critics fulminated that the methodology was flawed — that, for starters, sandwiches eaten outside the mustardy milieu of a deli can never taste as good.

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