Distinguished Alumni

Leonard Jay Mirman '72

Leonard Jay Mirman was born on March 19, 1940 in New York City. He received his BS in mathematics from Brooklyn College in January 1963. He then earned his MS in mathematics from New York University in January 1965. While pursuing his masters degree, Mirman taught mathematics at Saint Peter's College and Rutgers--the State University.

He entered the University of Rochester as a National Defense Education Act Fellow in the fall semester of 1965. He received his MA in economics at the University of Rochester in June 1968. He was finally awarded his PhD at the University of Rochester in 1970.

At the University of Rochester, Mirman worked with Professors McKenzie and Kemperman in the field of the economics of uncertainty. His thesis deals with the topic of consumption and investment decisions in a world where technological progress is random.

After receiving his PhD at the University of Rochester in 1972, Mirman taught at Cornell University, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Illinois. He currently holds a position at the University of Virginia.

Two influential publications by him are:

"Optimal Economic Growth and Uncertainty: The Discounted Case", Journal of Economic Theory, 1972. (with William A. Brock)

This paper is a true classic in modern economics. Leonard Mirman started this paper with William Brock while he was a graduate student here at the University of Rochester. Brock was an Assistant Professor in the Department. Together they built a model of economic growth. In the world they modeled there is uncertainty about technological progress. Rational agents take this uncertainty about the technological progress into account when calculating their optimal choices for consumption and savings. Business cycle fluctuations arise naturally in the model, due to random technological progress. The paper uses concepts from modern probability theory to characterize the long-run behavior of the economy. The Brock-Mirman growth model is at the heart of modern macroeconomics and growth theory.

"The Great Fish War: An Example Using a Dynamic Cournot-Nash Solution", The Bell Journal of Economics, 1980. (with David Levhari)

This paper is another classic in the economics literature. It is motivated by international conflicts about fishing rights, but the idea and the techniques developed in this paper can be applied to shed lights on many other economic problems such as macroeconomic stabilization or imperfect competition among firms. This paper develops a model in which the decisions of two participants affect the evolution of an underlying population of interest (the fish population in their example). The model has two basic features. First there is the strategic aspect: each participant takes account of the other's actions. The second feature is that the underlying population changes as a result of the actions of both participants, so that the actions of both participants affect the future size or rate of growth of the population. The paper examines the dynamic and steady state properties of the fish population that results from the participants' interactions.

His other publications include:

"Supportability, Sustainability and Subsidy-Free Prices", Rand Journal of Economics, 1985. (with Y. Tauman and I. Zand)

"Duopoly Signal Jamming", Journal of Economic Theory, 1992. (with L. Samuelson and A. Urbano)

"Strategic Information Manipulation in Duopolies", Journal of Economic Theory, 1992. (with L. Samuelson and E. Schlee)

Atila Abdulkadiroglu (Feb 29, 2000)