A Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who addressed the challenges and consequences of a global economy and once said he just wanted "to make the world better," has died. Lester Thurow was 77.

The university announced Tuesday that Thurow had died Friday at his Westport home. No cause was given.

Thurow started teaching at MIT in 1968 and was dean of the university's Sloan School of Management from 1987 until 1993.

MIT President L. Rafael Reif said Thurow "spent his life trying to make society more farsighted and more fair," and "embodied MIT's mission to advance knowledge and educate students in service to the nation and the world."

Thurow was raised in Montana, the son of a Methodist minister and teacher.

He is survived by his wife, two children, two stepchildren, and seven grandchildren.