Sherwin Rosen 101: Discover the Pioneer Labour Economist
Zatrun Published at April 30, 2023

Sherwin Rosen was an American labour economist, born on September 29, 1938. As a prominent economist, he made significant contributions in areas such as labour markets, labour productivity, and human capital. Additionally, he was a pioneer in many innovative economic models and approaches, such as the Rosen model and the Rosen forecasting method, which are widely accepted in the economics world.

Sherwin Rosen passed away at the age of 62 on March 17, 2001, at the University of Chicago. If you would like to learn more about him and his legacy, you can check out the subheadings in this article.

Who is Sherwin Rosen?

Sherwin Rosen was born on September 29, 1938, in Chicago, Illinois. He began his academic career with an economics degree from Purdue University. After obtaining his undergraduate degree, he entered the University of Chicago for a master’s and doctorate in economics. He received his master’s degree in 1962 and his doctorate in 1966. Throughout his education, Rosen had the opportunity to work as a research assistant in many prestigious institutions and published many important articles in economics.

As a labour economist, Sherwin Rosen was a respected name with connections to many universities and academic institutions in the United States, including the University of Chicago, the University of Rochester, and Stanford University. Rosen served as a Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago before his death, and he also served as president of the American Economic Association.

Rosen’s work played a pioneering role in labour economics and economic sociology, making significant contributions to research in these fields. He served as the Chairman of the Economics Department at the University of Chicago for a long time and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1997.

His Academic Works and Legacy

Between 1974 and 1986, Sherwin Rosen questioned several important issues in the articles he published. He argued that when examining relationships between product characteristics, you may not always find the desired characteristic features in a single product. In some cases, it may not be useful to recombine products, as you could also be selling something else while buying something. This could leave a different combination of features for another buyer. Rosen called this “tied-sales.”

Rosen showed that tied-sales could separate people by their types. He argued that complex tied sales situations could be freed from their worst effects through a payment he called “equalising difference.” This work led to many unexpected insights into the effects of government policies. For example, minimum wage may not necessarily reduce employment, as economists widely believed, but it could incentivise employers to provide less on-the-job training to their employees.

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