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Richard Eric ERICSON


Richard Eric ERICSON, economist in the field of General Economic Theory; Economic Systems; Planning Theory. Fulbright- Hayes Fellow, 1977-1978.


ERICSON, Richard Eric was born in 1949 in San Miguel, Mexico.


Bachelor of Science (International Affairs) Georgetown University, 1971. MIA (International Affairs & Soviet Studies) Columbia University, 1974. Doctor of Philosophy University California Berkeley, 1979.


Fulbright-Hayes Research Scholar, Moscow State University, Moscow, 1977-1978. Institute, Institution, Assistant Professor, Harvard University, 1978, 1978-1983. Visiting Assistant Professor, Northwestern University, 1981.

Visiting Association Professor, Yale University, 1983. Association Professor of Economics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, United States of America, since 1983.


  • Fulbright- Hayes Fellow, 1977-1978.


My primary research has centred on the question of how economic outcomes are generated in centrally planned economic systems such as that of the Soviet Union. Taking the economic plan as given, I have concentrated on the impact of its inevitable incompleteness and of the structure of authority in such economies on economy performance in an uncertain and ever-changing environment. In general, these characteristics were found to generate inflexibility in response to both opportunities and contingencies and to generate a pervasive microeconomic instability in outcomes.

This research focussed in particular on the behaviour of intermediate product inventories in the Soviet Union. This study naturally led to an investigation of various informal, unplanned mechanisms that arise to cope with these unanticipated consequences of planning. In particular, I have concentrated on modelling market-like processes that have arisen in the so-called Second Economy of the Soviet Union. This research has raised questions about the meaning of ‘markets’ and their role under central planning, to which I have most recently turned my attention.

I have also recently begun to investigate through theoretical modelling the microeconomic interaction between superiors and subordinates in a centrally planned economy under uncertainty and incomplete information. Other research of mine has dealt with questions of industrial organisation in a market economy. In particular I have studied the change in industrial structure under deregulation and worked on models of research and development investment and the accumulation of ‘R & D capital’.