Remembering Heikki Rantakari
Simon mourns the loss of renowned economics professor.
Heikki Rantakari's untimely death sent shockwaves through the Simon Business School and beyond. News of his passing has left the Simon community stunned and created a void deeply felt by family, friends, colleagues, and students.
Rantakari was an associate professor of economics and management at Simon Business School and was also a visiting associate professor of applied economics at MIT's Sloan School of Management. He was widely recognized for his contributions to the fields of applied microeconomic theory and organizational economics, leaving an enduring mark in these fields.
Beyond his significant research accomplishments, Rantakari played a pivotal role in the Simon community, where he taught the core MBA Managerial Economics course as well as a very popular Game Theory elective for many years. He also led the school’s MBA curriculum committee. His dedication to education was evident in his remarkable patience, passion for learning, and unwavering commitment to his students.
Rantakari's academic journey was characterized by his relentless pursuit of knowledge. He earned his Bachelor of Science (BSc) in economics from the London School of Economics (LSE) and completed his PhD in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His contributions to his field earned him the respect and admiration of colleagues and students alike.
In the words of Sevin Yeltekin, the dean of Simon Business School, "Heikki Rantakari's impact on the field of economics through his research is a testament to his dedication and passion. He was not only a dedicated scholar but also a mentor and a source of inspiration for many students. His loss is deeply felt, and our hearts go out to his family, friends, and all those fortunate enough to have known him."
Rantakari's research included significant publications such as “The Art of Brevity” with co-author Ricardo Alonso in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 195, pp.257-271; “Managerial Influence and Organizational Performance” in the Journal of European Economic Association, 19 (2), pp.1116-1161, and “The Politics of Compromise,” with co-author Alessandro Bonatti in American Economic Review. He also had several forthcoming papers including “Simon Says? Equilibrium Obedience and the Limits of Authority” and “How to Reward Honesty” both in the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization. His work shed light on the complexities of decision-making within organizations and their economic implications.
“Heikki was known to all as a deep thinker whose light shone brightly,” said Michael Raith, associate professor at Simon. “Among scholars, his contributions to organizational economics and applied microeconomic theory will continue to be influential. No less important, here at Simon we will remember Heikki as an excellent teacher, a dedicated and generous colleague, and a great friend.”
In addition to his academic pursuits, friends remember Rantakari’s passions for painting, playing the guitar, and following baseball. He is survived by his wife, Noelle, and many family members including his mother, a younger sister, and extended family in Finland
In remembrance, we honor Heikki’s contributions to the academic world and the indelible mark he left on Simon Business School. His memory will forever be cherished by all who had the privilege of knowing him.