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Martin Joseph BECKMANN

Martin Joseph BECKMANN, German economist in the field of Mathematical Methods and Models; Organisation and Decision Theory; Regional Economics. Postdoctoral Fellow Political Economics, University Chicago, 1950-1951; Fellow, Center Advanced Study Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California, 1955-1956; Fellow, Econometric Society; Member, International Institute, Institution Statistics; President, Western Regional Science Association, 1976-1977; President, Regional Science Association 1979-1980.


  • BECKMANN, Martin Joseph was born in 1924 in Ratingen, W. Germany.

  • Education

    • Vordiplom University Gottingen, 1947. Diplom., Dr. Rer. Policy University Freiburg, 1949,1950. Honorary Dr. Rer Pol University Karlsruhe, 1971.

      Honorary Dr. Phil, h.c. University UMEA, Sweden, 1981.


    • Research Association, Cowles Commission Research Economics, Assistant Professor Yale University, 1951-1955,1955-1959. Visiting Professor, University Heidelberg, 1959. Association Professor, Brown University, 1959-1961.

      Professor Emeritus, Oregon and Economics, University Bonn, W. Germany, 1962-1969. Tinbergen Chair, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1982. Professor of Economics, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America, since 1961.

      Professor Applied Mathematics, Technical University Munich, W. Germany, since 1969. Managing Editor (with W. Krelle), Lecture Notes in Economic and Mathematical Systems (SpringerVerlag). Association Editor, Transportation Science.

    Major achievements

    • Postdoctoral Fellow Political Economics, University Chicago, 1950-1951. Fellow, Center Advanced Study Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California, 1955-1956. Fellow, Econometric Society.

      Member, International Institute, Institution Statistics. President, Western Regional Science Association, 1976-1977. President, Regional Science Association 1979-1980.


    • Lectures on Location Theory
    • Continuing the (neo-)classical tradition of von Thünen, Launhardt, Weber, Palander, and Lösch this book offers a fresh approach to the location of industries and other economic activities, of market areas, spatial price distribution, locational specialization, urban and transportation systems, and spatial interaction in general.


    Early work was focussed on competitive spatial market equilibrium and on the efficient utilisation of transportation facilities, developing appropriate linear and nonlinear programming models under the influence of T. C. Koopmans. My interests then shifted to sequential decision-making as exemplified by inventory and production control, and to the economic insights found in dynamic programming. Through Jacob Marschak I was motivated to study the economics of organisations, particularly the economic functions of supervision and rank.

    I have tackled the returns to scale in management problem through the use of production functions. I have maintained an interest in the economics of transportation and have introduced utility methods into the modelling of traveller behaviour. More recently I have returned to location theory as the foundation of Regional Science an Urban Economics.

    Perhaps my best known contribution has been a simple model explaining the quantitative relationships in a central place hierarchy and the distribution of city sizes.

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