Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content

Isaac Ehrlich

SUNY Distinguished Professor
UB Distinguished Professor
Finance Department
Chair, Economics Department - College of Arts and Sciences

  • Melvin H. Baker Professor of American Enterprise and Member of the Finance and Managerial Economics Department in the School of Management
  • Director of the Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer, and Economic Growth and Development at the University at Buffalo
  • Research Associate (senior title), National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
  • Honorary Professor at the City University of Hong Kong 
  • Research Associate at the Institute for Policy Analysis at the University of Toronto
  • Appointed Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Human Capital, a University of Chicago Press publication
  • Leading a group of Center of Human Capital researchers to provide annual forecasts of State tax revenues for the Comptroller of New York State

Education

PhD (with Distinction), Columbia University
BA (Cum Laude), Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Research Interests and Activities

Isaac Ehrlich's research interests include general applications of economic theory to law and economics, crime and justice, human capital and health economics, advertising and information, uncertainty and insurance, social security, and economic growth and development. He is the author of more than 80 original and reprinted articles in major 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. In 2006, Ehrlich was awarded the prestigious faculty development grant from the New York Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR), which he used to establish a the Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer, and Economic Growth and Development at the University at Buffalo.

Ehrlich currently serves as chair of the Economics Department in UB's College of Arts and Sciences and as the Melvin H. Baker Professor of American Enterprise in the School of Management. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an honorary professor at the City University of Hong Kong, a research associate of the Institute of Policy Analysis of the University of Toronto and a member of the prestigious Mont Pellerin Society.

His previous academic affiliations include appointments as a lecturer at the Tel-Aviv University, associate professor at the University of Chicago and a senior research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he was co-founder 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 worldwide in such countries as Austria, China, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan and Uruguay.

Ehrlich is listed in the prestigious first edition of 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 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 Gov. Chris Patton’s Administration.

In recognition of his scholarly contributions, Ehrlich was promoted in March 2006 to the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor, the highest academic rank in the SUNY system. He was previously promoted to the new rank of UB Distinguished Professor in 2002. He has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Docteur Honoris Causa) from the University of Orleans, France, in Fall 2002.

Previous Academic Positions

  • Assistant and Associate Professor of Economics, University of Chicago,1969-1978
  • Senior Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1969-1977
  • Lecturer, Tel-Aviv University, 1971-72
  • Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Economics, University of Virginia,1973
  • Visiting Professor of Economics, Hong Kong Univ. of Science & Technology, 1992-1993.

Academic Honors

  • Named SUNY Distinguished Professor by the SUNY Board of Trustees, March 2006
  • Named NYSTAR Distinguished Professor of 2005, by the New York Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research
  • Honorary Doctorate (Docteur Honoris Causa) from the University of Orleans, France – ceremony held in Fall 2002 in Orleans
  • Ranked No. 61 for total citations and No. 37 for total citations based on the number of years following the PhD in Medoff's The Ranking of Economists, Journal of Economic Education, Fall 1989. Also ranked among the 100 most cited economists in Marshall H. Medoff's “A Citation-Based Analysis of Economists and Economic Programs,” The American Economist Vol. 40, No. 1 (Spring 1996)
  • Selected for 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 editions of this collection
  • Selected to contribute entries in authoritative encyclopedic collections:
    • “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), 2008
    • “Economics of Crime in The Encyclopedia of Law and Society, edited by David S. Clark, Sage Publications, CA: Thousands Oaks, 2006
    • “Criminal Justice” in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the Law, Peter Newman, Editor, Macmillan Press, 1998
    • “Crime and Punishment” in The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics. John Eatwell, Murray Milgate and Peter Newman, eds., London: Macmillan Press, 1987
  • Member of the U.S. Presidential Health Policy Advisory Group and the Transition Team for Health Policy (1980-1981)
  • Admitted as member of the prestigious Mont Pellerin Society, Fall 1998
  • Appointed Honorary Professor of the City University of Hong Kong, 1999

Grants and Awards

  • Grants in Law and Economics from the National Science Foundation through the NBER (1970-78) and from the U.S. Department of Justice (1979-1987)
  • 5-year grant from the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID) for studies in economic growth and development (1987-1992)
  • "Economics of transition," HKUST (1992-1994)
  • "Income Growth and Income Equality, An International Comparison," Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, Taiwan (1994-1996)
  • "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)
  • Faculty Development grant, New York Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR), 2006-2009
  • Awarded a contract to develop and produce annual forecasts of state tax revenues for the New York State comptroller

Professional Activities

General Activities

  • Appointed member of the Panel of Economic Advisors to former Gov. David Patterson
  • Director, Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer, and Economic Growth and Development, University at Buffalo, March 2006 - present
  • 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.
  • Editorial Board of the SUNY Press
  • Member of the Mont Pellerin Society
  • Director, Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise Systems, University at Buffalo, 1987-1992
  • Member of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth of the NBER
  • The American Economic Association (AEA)
  • The Western and Atlantic Economic Association
  • The American Law and Economics Association
  • Chair of numerous sessions in past AEA meetings
  • Referee for several major journals

International Activities

  • Affiliate Professor to the University of Haifa, Israel, appointed by the university's president and provost in June 2005
  • Associate member of the Institute of Policy Analysis of the University of Toronto 1992-present.
  • Frequent Visiting Professor at Universite D’Orleans, Institut D'Etudes des Sciences Politiques, Paris, and Universite Pantheon-Assa (Paris II), France
  • Board of Academic Advisors, Hong Kong Center of Economic Research, Hong Kong University 1992-present.
  • Visiting Professor and Project Manager, The Economics of Transition, 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 (1993-1994) by appointment from Secretary Elizabeth Wong in Gov. Christopher Patton’s Administration

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

"Market Insurance, Self-Insurance and Self-Protection" (with G. Becker), lead article, Journal of Political Economy (July-August 1972).

"Participation in Illegitimate Activities--A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation", lead article, Journal of Political Economy (May-June 1973).

"The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment--A Question of Life and Death", American Economic Review (June 1975).

"Asset Management, Allocation of Time and Returns to Savings" (with U. Ben-Zion), Economic Inquiry (December 1976).

"Capital Punishment and Deterrence: Some Further Thoughts and Additional Evidence", Journal of Political Economy Aug, 1977.

"On the Usefulness of Controlling Individuals:An Economic Analysis of Rehabilitation, Incapacitation and Deterrence", American Economic Review (June 1981).

"The Derived Demand for Advertising: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation" (with L. Fisher), American Economic Review (June 1982).

"The Optimum Enforcement of Laws and the Concept of Justice: A Positive Analysis", lead article, International Review of Law and Economics (June 1982).

"On the Issue of Causality in Crime Control" (with G. Brower),American Economic Review (May 1987).

"The Demand for Longevity and the Value of Life Extension" (with H. Chuma), Journal of Political Economy (August 1990).

"The Problem of Development-Introduction" Journal of Political Economy (October 1990).

"Intergenerational Trade, Longevity, and Economic Growth" (with F. Lui), Journal of Political Economy (October 1991).

"Productivity Growth and Firm Ownership" (with G. Gallais-Hamonno, R. Lutter and Z. Liu), Journal of Political Economy (October 1994).

"Optimal Portfolio and Consumption Decisions in a Stochastic Environment with Precommitment" (with W.A. Hamlen, Jr.), lead article, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control(April 1995).

"Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses", Journal of Economic Perspectives (Winter 1996).

"Social Security and the Real Economy: An Inquiry into Some neglected Issues" (with J. Zhong), American Economic Review (May 1998).

"Social Security, the Family, and Economic Growth" (with F. Lui), Economic Inquiry (July 1998).

"Sensitivity Analyses of the Deterrence Hypothesis: Let's Keep the Econ in Econometrics" (with Z. Liu), Journal of Law and Economics (April 1999).

"Bureaucratic Corruption and Economic growth", with F. T. Lui, Journal of Political Economy (October 1999).

"Uncertain Lifetime, Life Protection, and the Value of Life Saving", Journal of Health Economics (May 2000).

“The Growth-Inequality Nexus without Borrowing Restrictions or Government Intervention: Some Implications from a Prototype Model”, with C.W. Yuen, Annals of Economics and Finance Vol. 1, December 2000, 283-301.

"Social Security: From Pay-As-You-Go Systems to an Individual-Based Capitalization System" (text in English; title in Spanish: Prevision social: de los regimens de reparto a los de capitalizacion individual). Published as part of a three articles series ("Conferencias"), along with contributions by Gary Becker and Joseph Stiglitz. Revista de Ciencias Empresariales Y Economia, vol 2 (2003).

“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.

“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.

“Economics of Crime” in The Encyclopedia of law and Society, edited by David S. Clark, Sage Publications, CA: Thousand Oaks, 2006.

“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), forthcoming, 2008.

"Why Does Human Capital Need a Journal?", with Kevin M. Murphy, Journal of Human Capital, inaugural issue, vol. 1, Winter 2007

"The Evolution of Income and Fertility Inequalities Over the Course of Economic Development: A Human Capital Perspective", with Jinyoung Kim, Journal of Human Capital, inaugural issue, vol. 1, Winter 2007

Books and Collections

The Mystery of Capital and the New Philosophy of Social Reality (tentative title), co-editor (with Barry Smith and David Mark), Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago, June, 2008.

The Economics of Crime (editor, with Z. Liu). A three volume book of readings on the subject. Selected as part of the collection: "International Library of Critical Writings in Economics" (Mark Blaug, general editor), Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. London, England. In press, forthcoming, 2006.

National Health Policy: What Role for Government (editor), Proceedings of the Conference on National Health Policy held at Stanford University in March of 1980, Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1982.

The Problem of Development (editor), Journal of Political Economy (October 1990).

National Health Policy: What Role for Government (editor), Proceedings of the Conference on National Health Policy held at Stanford University in March of 1980, Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1982.

The Problem of Development (editor), Journal of Political Economy (October 1990).