Isaac Ehrlich

Chairman of the Department
Office: 415B Fronczak Hall
Phone: (716) 645-8694

School of Management
238/234b Jacobs
Phone: (716) 645-8694
E-mail: mgtehrl@acsu.buffalo.edu


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  • Member of New York State Governor David A. Paterson’s Council of Economic Advisors
  • SUNY and UB Distinguished Professor of Economics
  • Chair, Department of Economics
  • Melvin H. Baker Professor of American Enterprise
  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
  • Director, Center of Human Capital, Technology Transfer, and Economic Growth and Development
  • Editor-in-Chief Journal of Human Capital


  • Ph.D. Columbia University
  • B.A. Hebrew University
  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Orleans, France (2002)

Research Interests and Contributions

  • 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 crime and justice
  • Law and Economics

Mentioned 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 article, and the NBER paper on which it is based, may be read online at http://www.buffalo.edu/news/pdf/May07/NYTimesEhrlichOpEd.pdf, and http://papers.nber.org/papers/w12868.pdf, respectively.

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,” Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3), pages 255 – 301. (2011)

Other Contributions and Distinctions

  • The Economics of Crime (editor, with Z. Liu). A three- volume book of readings; selected as part of the collection: “International Library of Critical Writings in Economics” (Mark Blaug, general editor), Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., London , England . June 2006;
  • Named SUNY Distinguished Professor, March 2006, and UB Distinguished Professor (2002);
  • Named NYSTAR Distinguished Professor of 2005, by NYSTAR’s Faculty Development program, in an award ceremony held March 6, 2006 at UB;
  • Awarded faculty development grant from the New York Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research, $750,000 with matching funds from UB, 2006;
  • Awarde Honorary Doctorate from the University of Orleans (2002);
  • Selected to Who’s Who in Economics first edition and all subsequent editions;
  • Among the 100 most cited economists in recent rankings;
  • Editor of National Health Policy: What Role for Government (1983) and The Problem of Development, a 1990 supplement to the Journal of Political Economy;
  • Member of the U.S. Presidential Health Advisory Group (1980) and the Hong Kong Government Health Services Committee (1993-94);
  • Recipient of over $1.5 million in NSF and USAID grants;
  • Selected for membership in the prestigious Mont Pelerin Society by its Board of Trustees, Fall 1998.
  • Appointed Honorary professor at the City University of Hong Kong, September 1999.