Lewis Anthony Dexter, who wrote and lectured widely during a long career as political scientist and sociologist, died on March 27 at Durham Regional Hospital in Durham, N.C. He was 79 and most recently lived in Baltimore.

He had suffered a brief illness, said Dr. Herbert A. Simon of Carnegie-Mellon University, a friend and colleague.

Among the many works to Professor Dexter's credit was "American Business and Public Policy," written with Raymond Bauer and Ithiel Pool (Atherton, 1963; second edition, Aldine, 1972). The book, a study of the politics of foreign trade in the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations, won the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award as the year's "most significant contribution to the advancement of political science."

His other books included "How Organizations Are Represented in Washington" (University Press of America, 1987) and "The Tyranny of Schooling: An Inquiry Into the Problem of 'Stupidity' " (Basic Books, 1964).

Professor Dexter, a native of Montreal, graduated from the University of Chicago and earned a master's degree from Harvard in 1938 and a doctorate from Columbia in 1960. He lectured at some 30 colleges and universities over the years, including Howard University, the University of California at Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is survived by a sister, Harriet Pennington of Santa Fe, N.M.