Isaac Ehrlich

PhD

Isaac Ehrlich

Isaac Ehrlich

PhD

Isaac Ehrlich

PhD

SUNY Distinguished Professor (Research) of Economics
UB Distinguished Professor
Melvin H. Baker Professor of American Enterprise

Research Interests

Human capital and income distribution; economic growth and development; economics of health and value of life savings; Social Security and population aging; economics of information and uncertainty; economics of law, crime and justice

Contact Information

447 Fronczak Hall

Buffalo NY, 14260-1520

Phone: (716) 645-8694

mgtehrl@buffalo.edu

About

Professor Ehrlich’s research focuses on the role of human capital and social institutions in the economy. It includes a wide range of applications of economic theory to the economics of crime and justice, uncertainty and insurance, health and longevity, law and economics, advertising and information, social security, asset management and financial markets, and economic growth and development. He is the author of 80 original and reprinted articles in major refereed journals and collections, including two books and a special journal issue, and his widely cited work – he is listed among the 100 most cited economists on several published surveys – has been supported by numerous grants from the National Science Foundation and other Federal agencies, including a major USAID grant to study economic development and the role of free enterprise.

Learn More About Professor Ehrlich

In 2006, Prof. Ehrlich was awarded the prestigious faculty development grant from the New York Office of Science, Technology, and Academic research (NYSTAR), which he has used to establish a “Signature Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer, and Economic Growth and Development”. In April 2004 he was appointed Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic research to serve in the Health Economics program. In December 2006 he was appointed by the Board of University of Chicago Publications Founding Editor-in-Chief of the new Journal of Human Capital, published by the University of Chicago Press (UCP), which publishes some of the top journals in economics.  See web page for the JHC at: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/loi/jhc/

In recognition of his scholarly contributions Professor Ehrlich was promoted in March 2006 to the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor, the highest academic rank in the SUNY system (see Press releases at http://www.buffalo.edu/news/fast-execute.cgi/article-page.html?article=78280009, and an article in the UB Reporter at http://www.buffalo.edu/ubreporter/archives/vol37/vol37n25/articles/Ehrlich.html. He was previously promoted to the University at Buffalo’s rank of UB Distinguished Professor in 2002. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Docteur Honoris Causa) from the University of Orleans, France, in Fall 2002.

At UB, Professor Ehrlich currently serves as Professor of the Department of Economics in the College of Arts and Sciences, Melvin H. Baker Professor of American Enterprise in the School of Management, and Director of the Center of Excellence on Human capital, technology transfer, and Economic growth and Development. His professional affiliations include appointments as Research Associate (a senior title) at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Honorary Professor at the City University of Hong Kong, Research Associate of the Institute of Policy Analysis of the University of Toronto, and member of the prestigious Mont Pellerin Society. In 2007 he was awarded a contract by the Comptroller of New York State, Mr. Thomas P. DiNapoli as Principal Investigator to develop a forecasting model of tax revenues and provide forecasts of State tax revenues along with a team of research associates at the Center of Excellence on Human Capital. See Press release at http://www.buffalo.edu/ubreporter/archives/vol39/vol39n29/articles/EhrlichBudget.html.

In July 2008 he was appointed to serve on the Panel of Economic Advisors of New York Governor, David A. Patterson, see Press Releases at http://www.buffalo.edu/news/9628, http://www.cas.buffalo.edu/, and http://mgt.buffalo.edu/home/about/News/erlichcouncil.

His previous academic affiliations include appointments as a lecturer at the Tel-Aviv University, an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago, and a Senior Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he was one of the founders of the Law and Economics Project. He has also been a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, and a Visiting Professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has given numerous public lectures and seminars in Austria, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan , and Uruguay .

Who’s Who in Economics: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Economists 1700-1980, and all of its later updates, and has contributed entries on Crime and Punishment and the Economics of Criminal Justice in all editions of The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, and The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the Law. His previous public service activities include membership on President Ronald Reagan’s Health Policy Advisory Group and the Transition Team on Health Policy, and the Hong Kong Government’s Health Services Committee and its Expert Subcommittee on Grant Applications and Awards, headed by Hon. Elizabeth Wong, Secretary of Health and Welfare in Governor Chris Patton’s Administration.

Starting in 2014, Prof. Ehrlich has been a key member in the National Academy of Sciences panel on the Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Immigration.

Education

  • PhD (with distinction), Columbia University, 1970
  • BA (cum laude), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1964
  • Honorary Doctorate, (Docteur Honoris Causa), University of Orleans, France, 2002

Current Academic Positions

  • SUNY Distinguished Professor (Research) and UB Distinguished Professor of Economics
  • Melvin H. Baker Professor of American Enterprise in the School of Management
  • Director, Center of Human Capital, Technology Transfer, and Economic Growth and Development (“Center for Human Capital”) and the Provost-sponsored 3E human capital program.
  • Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press
  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
  • Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Labor, IZA Bonn Germany
  • Member Scientific Board of Advisors of the Wittgenstein Institute of Demography and Global Human Capital, Vienna, Austria
  • Member of New York State Governor David A. Paterson’s Council of Economic Advisers
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences on the Panel on the Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration

Previous Academic Positions

  • Senior Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1969-1977
  • Assistant and Associate Professor of Economics, University of Chicago,1969-1978
  • Lecturer, Tel-Aviv University, 1971-72
  • Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Economics, University of Virginia,1973
  • Chair of the Department of Managerial Economics and Policy (School of Management), 1981-1987
  • Visiting Professor of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 1992-1994

Current Research

Research contributions by Professor Ehrlich are based on innovative applications of general economic theory to study diverse human behavior and social institutions, with particular emphasis on the role of Human Capital, time, information, and uncertainty. The most provocative illustration concerns participation in illegitimate activities and the development of a ‘market model’ of crime. Use of optimization and equilibrium analysis along with econometric methodology to explain variations in the incidence of crime and corruption and optimal crime control and criminal justice policies across place and time has challenged received theories in criminology and opened up a new research frontier in economics.

Work on behavior under uncertainty has provided a new framework for studying the joint demand for market insurance, self-Insurance, and self- and life-protection. Work on advertising links advertising and other selling efforts by firms to the demand for information by consumers and to the division of labor between buyers and sellers in the production of desired information about the characteristics of market goods.

Work on health and longevity deals with length or quantity of life as a distinct choice, which competes with aspects of the quality of life over the allocation of lifetime resources. It analyzes investment in health and longevity as an integral part of both human capital theory and the general theory of self-protection against detrimental risks to life. The model offers insights concerning both the time trend and significant diversities in life expectancies and assessments of ‘value-of-life-saving’ measures across population groups and over time.

Work on endogenous economic growth applies human capital theory and time allocation within families and firms to explain income growth and income inequality in both developing and developed countries. This work focuses on the role of the family in human capital formation and the contribution of specific motivating and institutional forces in influencing the diversity and pace of productivity growth at the micro (family and firm) and macro levels. These forces include altruism, the need for old-age security, private vs. public ownership of economic resources, and government control of private economic activity. The work also links economic growth with the aging of the population in developed countries and assesses the incentive effects of conventional social insurance plans on the economy’s growth path.

Work on the role of human capital in asset management and the market for risky assets seeks to augment received theories in financial economics, which treated the prices of risky assets as (fully-) information revealing by modeling the process under which market prices become informative. This work focuses on the role of human capital endowments and private information collection and their implications for portfolio choices, market-price volatility, equity premiums, and the distribution of both earnings and financial income.

Ehrlich’s work on human capital and endogenous growth has recently been recognized through a major Faculty Development Award from the New York Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research, which he has used to establish the Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer, and Economic Growth And Development in 2006. This development was bolstered in 2007 by his appointment as Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Human Capital (JHC), published by the University of Chicago Press, which is also housed at the Center.

Apart from publishing his work in major refereed journals and books, Professor Ehrlich has also contributed numerous articles in the US and international media on the subject of human capital and its role in sustained economic development, as well as on social security reform and the economics of crime.

Other Contributions and Distinctions

Academic and Professional Honors

  • Member of the US Presidential Health Policy Advisory Group and the Transition Team for Health Policy, 1980-1981.
  • Selected to appear in Who is Who in Economics: A Bibliographical Dictionary of Major Economists 1700-1980, Mark Blaug and Paul Sturges, eds., Cambridge: The MIT Press, first edition, 1983. Also selected to appear in all subsequent (2nd to 4th editions) of this collection.
  • Ranked #61 in terms of total citations, and #37 in terms of total citations per number of years following the PhD degree, in Medoff’s The Ranking of Economists, of Econ. Education, Fall 1989.
  • Also ranked among the 100 most cited economists in Marshall H. Medoff “A Citation-Based Analysis of Economists and Economic Programs” The American Economist vol. 40, No. 1 (Spring 1996).
  • Admitted as Member of the prestigious Mont Pellerin Society, Fall 1998.
  • Appointed Honorary Professor of the City University of Hong Kong, 1999.
  • Named UB Distinguished Professor by UB President and Provost, 2002.
  • Awarded Honorary Doctorate (Docteur Honoris Causa) from the University of Orleans, France in a ceremony held in Fall October 2002 in Orleans.
  • Named NYSTAR Distinguished Professor of 2005, by the New York Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research.
  • Named SUNY Distinguished professor by the SUNY Board of trustees March, 2006.
  • Named Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Human Capital, published by the University of Chicago Press , by the Board of University of Chicago Publications, December 2006
  • Invited to deliver the Provost Lecture at the State University of New York at Stony Brook on the topic “Why the US became the Economic Superpower of the 20th Century, a Human Capital Approach”, April 2007.
  • Appointed member of the Panel of Economic Advisors to New York State Governor, David A. Patterson, July 2008-2010.
  • Appointed Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research – Health Economics Program. 2004-present

Selected to contribute entries in the following authoritative encyclopedic collections:

  • “Crime and Punishment” in the New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, John Eatwell, Murray Milgate and Peter Newman, eds., London: Macmillan Press, 1987.
  • “Criminal Justice” in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the Law, Peter Newman, Editor, Macmillan Press, 1998.
  • “Economics of Crime” in The Encyclopedia of Law and Society, edited by David S. Clark, Sage Publications, CA: Thousand Oaks, 2006.
  • “Gary S. Becker” in the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences Macmillian Detroit,USA,2007
  • “Economics of Deterrence – Theory” in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd edition, edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume, Palgrave Macmillan (Basingstoke and New York), May 2008.

Grants, Awards and Major Contracts

  • Multiple Grants in Law and Economics from the National Science Foundation through NBER (1970-78) and from the US Department of Justice (1979-1987).
  • Five-year grant from the US Agency of International Development (USAID) for studies in economic growth and development (1987-1992).
  • Roe fellowship to attend the Mont-Pelerin-Society Meeting in Munich, September, 1990.
  • “Economics of transition,” HKUST (1992-1993).
  • “Income Growth and Income Equality, an International Comparison,” Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, Taiwan (1994-1995).
  • “Life Protection and the Value of Life Saving,” Chaire D’Economie et de Gestion de la Sante, Institut D’Etudes Politiques De Paris (1996-97).
  • Research Award, Chair in Health Economics, Institut D’Etudes Economie Politiques, Paris, France, 1997-98.
  • NSF Grant for “The Mystery of Capital and the Construction of Social Reality” A multi-disciplinary workshop in economic development (joint with B. Smith and D. Mark), 2002.
  • NYSTAR faculty development grant, $750,000 for 3 years, supplemented by matching funds from the University at Buffalo, SUNY to establish a center of excellence on the role of human capital and technology transfer in economic growth and development, February 2006.
  • Contract awarded by the New York State Comptroller, Mr. Thomas DiNapoli to develop an independent forecasting model for tax revenue collections in New York State, and provide annul forecasts based on this model. December 2007, $520,000 for 3 years (renewable).
  • Contract awarded by the New York State Comptroller to provide an assessment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on the New York State Economy, March 2009.
  • Awarded a 3E Grant from the University at Buffalo for the project “A Human Capital Agenda for Educational and Economic Development” on behalf of the Center for Human Capital and the Graduate School of Education, $1,232,438 for FY 2012/13-2015/16.
  • Awarded a Helios Corporation grant for a project titled “Examining the Implementation of the Florida College Access Network and its impact on local college access network”, sponsored by the Helios Foundation. Nathan Daun-Barnett and Isaac Ehrlich Co-Principal Investigators and Yong Yin Member of the research team, May 4, 2015, $120,000
  • Awarded a Research and Residential Fellowship by Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) in Tokyo, Japan, April 1-21, 2018
  • Awarded a Research Fellowship by the Hong Kong Institute of Economic Research of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to commence in Summer 2019 in Hong Kong.

Significant Public Service

  • Health Policy, 1980-1981.
  • Member of the Hong Kong Government’s Health Services Committee, and of the Expert Subcommittee on Grant Applications and Awards, 1993-94.
  • Member of the Panel of Economic Advisors to New York State Governor David Patterson, August 18, 2008-2010.
  • Consultant, Office of the New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli 2008, providing forecasts of State tax revenue since 2008 (renewable)
  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences to serve on the Panel on the Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, December 2013.

Professional Activities

  • Director, Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise Systems, State University of New York at Buffalo , 1987-1992
  • Editorial Board of the SUNY Press, 2004 – 2010.
  • Director – Center of Excellence on Human capital, Technology transfer, and Economic Growth and Development (HEAD), SUNY at Buffalo , March 2006-.
  • Editor-in-Chief,Journal of Human Capital, 2007-.
  • Research Associate in the Health Economics Program of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and participant in NBER’s Working groups on Social Security and National Security (2004-present).
  • Member of the Mont Pellerin Society
  • The American Economic Association
  • The Western and Atlantic Economic Associations
  • The American Law and Economics Association
  • Chair of numerous sessions in past AEA meetings
  • Referee for all major journals.

International Activities

  • Board of Academic Advisors, Hong Kong Center of Economic Research, Hong Kong University 1992-present
  • Associate Member of the Institute of Policy Analysis of the University of Toronto 1992-present.
  • Visiting Professor, Coordinator of the Department of Economics, Chair of the Personnel Committee in the School of Business and Management, and founder of the Economic development Center, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 1992-1994.
  • Member of the Hong Kong Government’s Health Services Committee, and of the Expert Subcommittee on Government Grants and Awards by appointment from Secretary Elizabeth Wong in Governor Christopher Patton’s Administration, 1993-1994.
  • Named Affiliate Professor to the University of Haifa, Israel, by the President and Provost of that university, June 2005.
  • Member of the Board of International Advisors, Bar-Ilan University, Israel, 2005 – present.
  • Frequent Visiting Professor at Universite D’Orleans, Institut D’Etudes des Sciences Politiques, Paris, and Universite Pantheon-Assa (Paris II), France.
  • Serving as Honorary Professor, City University of Hong Kong

In the Media

A column in The New York Times by David Brooks on the need for Republicans to find a presidential candidate who can transcend current political categories and lay out a human-capital agenda cites research conducted by Isaac Ehrlich, SUNY and UB Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Economics, who showed that the United States became the richest country because, in the 19th and 20th centuries, it had the most schooling and the best circumstances to help people develop their own capacities. The NY Times article, and the NBER paper on which it is based, may be read online.

Selected Publications

  • “Market Insurance, Self-Insurance, and Self-Protection,” Journal of Political Economy (1972)
  • “Participation in Illegitimate Activities: An Economic Analysis,” Journal of Political Economy (1973)
  • “The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death,” American Economic Review(1975)
  • “Intergenerational Trade, Longevity, and Economic Growth” (with F. Lui), Journal of Political Economy(1991)
  • “Productivity Growth and Firm Ownership” (with G. Gallais-Hamonno, Z. Liu and R. Lutter), Journal of Political Economy (1994)
  • “Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses,” Journal of Economic Perspectives (1996)
  • “The Problem of Population and Growth: A Survey of the Literature from Malthus to Models of Endogenous Population and Endogenous Growth,” Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control(1997)
  • “Social Security and the Real Economy: An Inquiry into Some Neglected Issues” (with J. Zhong),American Economic Review (1998)
  • “Sensitivity Analyses of the Deterrence Hypothesis: Let’s Keep the Econ in Econometrics” (with Z. Liu), the Journal of Law and Economics, (1999)
  • “Bureaucratic Corruption and Endogenous Economic Growth” (with F.T Lui), Journal of Political Economy(1999)
  • “Uncertain Lifetime, Life Protection, and the Value of Life Saving”, Journal of Health Economics (2000)
  • “Explaining Diversities in Age-Specific Life Expectancies and Values of Life Saving: A Numerical Analysis”, with Yong Yin, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(2) 2005, 129-162;
  • “Endogenous Fertility, Longevity, and Economic Dynamics: Using a Malthusian Framework to Account for the Historical Evidence on Population and Economic Growth”, with Jinyoung Kim, Journal of Asian Economics, issue 15 (6) 2005, 789-806;
  • The Economics of Crime (co-edited with Z. Liu), Edward Elgar Publishing, (2006)“
  • “Social Security and Demographic trends: Theory and Evidence From the International Experience”, with J. Kim. Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 55-77, January 2007.
  • “The Evolution of Income and Fertility Inequalities over the Course of Economic Development: A Human Capital Perspective,” with J. Kim, Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1, 2007, 137-174.” (2007)
  • “Human Capital, Endogenous Information Acquisition and Home Bias in Financial Markets,” Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research. (2010)
  • “Taxing guns vs. taxing crime: An application of the “market for offenses model”,” Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 670-689, September. (2010)
  • “The Role of Human Capital in Imperfectly Informed International Financial Markets,” Working Papers 092010, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research. (2010)
  • Private Information, Human Capital, and Optimal “Home Bias” in Financial Markets,” Isaac Ehrlich & Jong Kook Shin & Yong Yin, 2011. Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3).
  • Equilibrium Health Spending and Population Aging in a Model of Endogenous Growth: Will the GDP Share of Health Spending Keep Rising? With Yong Yin, Journal of Human Capital, Vol. 7, No. 4 (December, 2013).
  • “Immigration, Human Capital Formation and Endogenous Economic Growth”, with Jinyoung Kim, Journal of Human Capital, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 518-563, 2015.
  • “Entrepreneurial Human Capital, the Market for Ideas, and Economic Growth”, with Dunli Li, in process of submission, Journal of Human Capital, Special issue honoring Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase.
  • “Was Higher Education a Major Channel through which the US Became an Economic Superpower in the 20th Century?, with AR Cook, Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Published online: 23 Oct 2018; printed version forthcoming.