Analysis Group Remembers Professor M. A. Adelman

May 20, 2014

M. A. ("Morry") Adelman passed away on May 8, 2014, at the age of 96.

He was Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, where he taught for more than 40 years. He also had a profound impact on the formation and early success of Analysis Group, Inc. In the 1970s and 1980s, Professor Adelman was one of a handful of leading industrial organization economists who testified as expert witnesses in antitrust litigations.

Morry graduated with a Ph.D. in economics in 1948 from Harvard University, where he won the Wells Prize for the best dissertation. His topic was the landmark antitrust case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against the A&P Company. After studying the grocery store industry for years, Morry turned his attention to world oil markets and became the preeminent authority on that industry for decades. One of his many students described his impact: "No person has had a greater influence on the thinking of experts who have become managers or government regulators of the world's oil and gas industry than Morry Adelman. His analysis and knowledge represent a unique asset that will never be replicated."

In the antitrust field, Morry was an innovator. His scholarly work led to the development of such well-known techniques as the relation between the "numbers equivalent" and the Herfindahl Hirschman Index (HHI), the LOFI/LIFO test for geographic markets, and the so-called small but significant and non-transitory increase in price (SSNIP) test routinely used by government economists to define relevant markets.

Morry served as an expert witness in many of the leading antitrust and intellectual property cases of his era, including U.S. v. E I DuPont & Co. (the famous Cellophane antitrust case), Honeywell v. Sperry Rand, and Berkey Photo v. Kodak. He was the very first academic affiliate of Analysis Group, dating back to 1981, the year the firm was founded. With Analysis Group serving as his backup team, Morry worked on cases involving challenged supermarket mergers (FTC v. Grand Union/Colonial, Lucky/Alpha Beta) and chemical mergers (FTC v. BASF/Chemetron, FTC v. Hoechst/Celanese); a price-fixing case in the executive jet industry (Falcon Jet), and an exclusive dealing arrangement involving Major League Baseball (MacGregor v. Rawlings). Morry was a superb witness because he embodied intellectual integrity, always mastered the facts of the case, did flawless data analysis, and was able to convey complex topics to a lay audience in a scholarly but understandable fashion devoid of jargon.

Morry leaves his daughter Barbara and legions of former students who fondly remember his kindness and gentle style of mentorship. He was keenly interested in people, and his nurturing helped define a culture of investing in people that Analysis Group seeks to maintain to this day.

Read MIT's tribute to Professor Adelman  

Read more about Professor Adelman in the New York Times