Marty McGuire

Martin Cyril McGuire, UCI economics professor emeritus and inaugural Clifford S. Heinz Chair in the Economics of Public Policy and Peace, died at his Irvine home on February 26, 2024 surrounded by family and caregivers. He was 90 years old.

“Marty McGuire made important research contributions to the economics of the public sector, international trade theory, the economics of peace, conflict, and security, as well as other fields of inquiry,” says colleague and friend Stergios Skaperdas, UCI economics professor and current Clifford S. Heinz Chair in the Economics of Public Policy and Peace. “While his work was primarily theoretical, using formal models aided with diagrammatic techniques, he was deeply interested in the empirical dimensions of his research.”

McGuire was born in 1933 in Shanghai, China, to Martin and Margaret Walsh McGuire. After returning from China in 1934, McGuire lived in several locations in California and for one year in Ft. Benning, Georgia, before his family settled in St. Paul, Minnesota. There, McGuire attended St. Thomas Military Academy for high school. In 1951, he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy (USMA) in West Point, NY, where he studied engineering and graduated with distinction in 1955. He won a Rhodes Scholarship and attended Oxford University, England, where he studied philosophy, politics, and economics. McGuire served in the US Army, achieved the rank of Captain, and earned a U.S. Army Commendation Medal in 1961. He earned his doctorate in economics from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1963.

Early in his career, McGuire held appointments in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis (1964-65) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (1965-67). In 1967, McGuire joined the Department of Economics at the University of Maryland, College Park, as a professor, where he taught and conducted research until 1992. He also continued to serve in public service consultant roles with agencies including the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Institute for Defense Analysis, and the RAND Corporation, among many others. In 1992, McGuire joined the University of California, Irvine as the inaugural Clifford S. Heinz Chair in the Economics and Public Policy of Peace, where he conducted research and taught until his retirement in 2006.

McGuire was well known for his contributions to the development of public choice theory and wrote extensively in that field, principally linking issues of defense and political economy. McGuire published a book, Secrecy and the Arms Race: A Theory of the Accumulation of Strategic Weapons and How Secrecy Affects It (Harvard University Press), and over 100 scholarly articles and book chapters during his career. He published in top journals of the economics profession including the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics. He also testified before Congress.

“His earlier research examined topics such as the allocation of public expenditures; issues of equity and efficiency in supplying public goods; economic factors in the formation and separation of groups; and on free-riding and the provision of collective goods,” says Skaperdas.

In his later years, he remained interested in public choice issues, contributing to the Oxford Handbook of Public Choice while continuing to conduct research, write, and publish on the economic structure of conflict and security until his passing.

McGuire was a devout Roman Catholic and proud of his Irish-American lineage. Born in China before World War II, McGuire had a life-long interest in Asia, studied Japanese, and spent two years living there as a visiting scholar at Osaka University (1984) and a Fulbright scholar at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto and Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo (1997). He also had a Fulbright Scholarship at the National University of Singapore (1989). He was an avid traveler. Not long after the fall of the Soviet Union, he took a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Vladivostok to Irkutsk, putting to good use the Russian language skills he learned at the USMA during the Cold War. McGuire completed airborne training as a USMA cadet and did the calisthenics he learned there almost daily until the last week of his life. McGuire’s life was shaped by his West Point experience, and he treasured his Class of 1955 friends, their shared connection to US history, and the belonging he felt as part of the traditions of “the Long Grey Line.”

He is survived by three children and their families: M. Walsh McGuire (Pandora Lu McGuire), Toronto, Canada; John C. McGuire (Melissa Upp McGuire), Burlingame, CA; Connie McGuire (Eduardo Moreno Cerezo), Orange, CA; and three grandsons: Jack, Liam, and Richard McGuire. He was married from 1965 to 1984 to Mary Delaney McGuire, with whom he had three children, and from 1987 to 1990 to Sumiye Okubo.

A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at 1 p.m. at the St. Mary Magdalen Church in Berkeley, CA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the West Point Association of Graduates with Superintendents Fund. For additional information, please contact Connie McGuire via email:

-courtesy of Connie McGuire with contributions from Stergios Skaperdas

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