About the Center

Welcome to the Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer, & Economic Growth and Development. We are housed in the Economics department of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University at Buffalo. The objective of the Center is to engage in cutting edge research, data gathering, academic publication, and sponsor research which focuses on the dynamic role of human capital, broadly defined to include education and training, health, product and process innovation, and entrepreneurial and intellectual capital in improving market efficiency, and achieving persistent, long-term productivity growth at the firm, industry, region, and economy-wide levels.

The Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer, & Economic Growth and Development (henceforth the Center) has been established through a $750,000 NYSTAR faculty Development Grant awarded to Isaac Ehrlich in March 2006.

The rationale of the Center stems from the growing importance of human capital – the intangible, but very real asset which is driving economic performance, structural change, productivity growth, and general well-being, especially in the new “knowledge economy.” At its core, human capital is information and knowledge, and as such it augments not just the production capacity of an economy’s human resources at a point in time, but also the persistent accumulation of new knowledge through research and development, innovation, and creative activities, which enhance productivity growth over time, and thus self-sustaining economic development. A more knowledgeable society is also better able to develop efficient legal and social institutions, and support the evolution of public policies that enhance social welfare. It is for these reasons that human capital has been identified as the basic “engine of growth” in the new economic growth and development paradigm known as endogenous growth theory.

The Center thus focuses on the production, evolution, and transfer of knowledge, which flows out of basic science, patents, and algorithms, and winds up as process and product innovations at the firm and industry level. It pursues cutting edge research, data gathering, and top-level academic publications on the dynamic role of human capital in diverse areas of economic science ranging from education, health, demographic changes to technological innovations, entrepreneurial and intellectual capital and endogenous growth and development. The Center involves faculty from Economics, the School of Management, The Department of Education, the Center of Bio-Informatics at UB, other academic institutions in NYS, and top economists in the US and abroad.

At the same time, the Center also aims to conduct applied research addressing regional economic development issues and challenges facing corporations in the Western and Upstate New York economy. The main focus of this would be on a better understanding of the secular changes that have affected the WNY and Upstate economy and the forces that affect its future prospects. Specific projects involve the creation of an econometric model of Western and Upstate NY, using a state of the arts econometric methodology.

The Center’s current activities include:

  • An active academic research program and scientific exchanges dedicated to the role of human capital, broadly defined, in the economy and society, and related public policy issues. From October 26-28 the Center held an inaugurating conference involving more than 50 top economists, including Nobel Laureate Gary Becker. For more details, please see this webpage: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JHC/home.html
  • The Journal of Human Capital – an innovating new journal in economics, which the University of Chicago Press has added to its family of major economics journal in March 2007. The JHC distinction is that it is dedicated to a theme, rather than a specific area of economic inquiry, and it is intended to serve as a platform for researches in micro, macro, and international economists dealing with human-capital related issues.
  • The editor-in-chief is Isaac Ehrlich and the editorial office is located in the Center. The editorial board includes four Nobel Laureates, two John Bates Clark Medalists and major contributors to human capital economics. Please see this webpage for the Journal Call for Papers.
  • A repository of regional, national, and international data center housing indicators of human capital formation and economic development.
  • Applied research dealing with regional economic development trends.

The center is a natural outgrowth of a previous research project dedicated to the “new” economic growth and development literature, which was sponsored and financed by the US Agency of International Development (USAID) through a $1 million grant involving Isaac Ehrlich as Principal Investigator and senior faculty from Economics and the School of Management, as well as a few Nobel Laureates and other leading economists. Five International conferences were held at UB in the late 1980s and early 1990s as part of that project, and resulted in numerous publications in leading economics journal, including a special issue of the prestigious Journal of Political Economy in 1990 titled “The Problem of Development”.