Jere R. Behrman is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Economics and of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Research Associate and former Director of the Population Studies Center and former Chair of the Department of Economics.
Jere grew up in Richmond Indiana. He received his B.A. summa cum laude with highest honors in physics from Williams College in 1962 and his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966. In 1965 he joined the Faculty at Penn in 1965, where he has spent the first fifty years of his academic career. Jere has played many numerous leadership roles in population science positions while at Penn and has served the PAA on the Board of Directors, Nominations Committee, Chair of the Finance Committee and Chair of the International Outreach Committee. He also has served as the Economics/Social Science member of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Advisory Council, a member of the National Academy of Science-National Research Council (NAS-NRC) Committee on Population (CPOP), and a member of the NAS-NRC CPOP Panel on transitions to adulthood in developing countries.
Jere is a leading international researcher in empirical microeconomics, with emphasis on developing economies. His research interests include empirical microeconomics, labor economics, human resources (early childhood development, education, health, and nutrition), project evaluation, economic demography, incentive systems, and household behaviors. The unifying dimension of much of this research is to improve empirical knowledge of the determinants of and the impacts of human resources given endogenous choices in the presence of unobserved factors such as innate health and ability, the functioning of various institutions such as households and imperfect markets including for information.
He has published over 400 professional articles in leading economic, demographic, sociology, nutritional, public health and biomedical journals and thirty-five books. He has been a researcher with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations Development Program, other international organizations and various governments. He has been a principal or co-investigator on over 160 research projects funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (40 grants), U.S. National Science Foundation (14 grants), and a number of other governmental and foundation sources. He has been involved in professional research or lecturing in over 40 countries. He has received honors including: Fulbright 40th Anniversary Distinguished Fellow, Econometric Society Fellow, Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Ford Foundation Fellow, Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) Senior Fellow, and 2008 biennial Carlos Diaz-Alejandro Prize for outstanding research contributions to Latin America. In December 2011 he was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Chile.
Jere has also been a dedicated mentor throughout his career. He was awarded the Irving B. Kravis Award for Distinction in Undergraduate Teaching and has served on over 150 Ph.D. dissertation committees, mostly in economics and demography. In addition, he holds the record for being the longest- playing basketball player in the PAA, having played so far in eight decades starting in the 1940s.