Walter Oi

Walter Oi

Walter Yasuo Oi (born 1929, in Los Angeles, California) is the Elmer B. Millman Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a distinguished fellow of the Society of Labor Economists and recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.


Oi received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago in 1961.

Role in the development of an all volunteer force

In his contribution to the "The Costs and Implications of an All-Volunteer Force" (1967) (of which he was also editor) Oi outlined the different calculations required to differentiate between the budgetary cost of military personnel and the economic cost to the nation of conscription. He identified the hidden costs of drafted force as the impact on the mental well being of those drafted. Oi estimated the loss in monetary terms of this effect to be between $826 million and $1,134 billion. [Henderson, [ The Role of Economists in Ending the Draft] , p363.]

Oi was then employed as the staff economist on President Nixon's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force (the Gates Commission) in the early 1970s. His research was used as a key piece of evidence in the debate to end the policy of conscription. [ Conference Organized to Honor Economist Walter Oi] ] Conscription ended in 1973. [Henderson, [ The Role of Economists in Ending the Draft] , p362.]

Role in relation to disability

Oi was Vice-Chair of the President's Commission on Employment of People with Disabilities.


Oi has been totally blind since 1956 but has continued to defy his handicap through his work. He had been gradually losing his sight for the majority of his sight and unable to read text since entering College. He continues to teach, collaborate and work despite his blindness and has achieved an impressive career.

During World War II, Oi was interned in a Japanese-American internment camp since he was a Nisei, an American of second generation Japanese descent.


*cite book | last = Oi | first = Walter Y (ed.) | title = The Costs and Implications of an All-Volunteer Force | publisher = University of Chicago Press | year = 1967 | location = Chicago
*cite journal | last = Oi | first = Walter Y | title = The Economic Cost of the Draft | journal = American Economic Review | volume = 27 | issue = 2 | pages = p39–62 | year = 1976
*cite journal | last = Oi | first = Walter Y. | title = Work for Americans with Disabilities | journal = The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science | volume = 523 | issue = 1 | pages = 159–174 | publisher = American Academy of Political Science | year = 1992 | url = | accessdate = 2007-01-31 | doi = 10.1177/0002716292523001014



*cite web | title = Conference Organized to Honor Economist Walter Oi | work = Press release | publisher = University of Rochester | date = 1 November, 1999 | url = | accessdate = 2007-01-31
*cite journal | last = Henderson | first = David R | title = The Role of Economists in Ending the Draft | journal = Econ Journal Watch | volume = 2 | issue = 2 | pages = p362–376 | url = | id = ISSN 1933-527X | accessdate = 2006-02-03 |format=PDF

External links

* [ Profile of Walter Y. Oi from the Department of Defense]
* [ Economics Department Faculty Profile Webpage at the University of Rochester ]

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