George Rosen, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), passed away at his Hyde Park home on January 8, 2018. The cause was Alzheimer’s disease. Born in Petrograd, Russia, he immigrated to the United States with his widowed mother in 1923. His early years were spent in Bridgeport, CT and Brooklyn, NY. He obtained a B.A. in economics from Brooklyn College, followed by graduate studies at Princeton University. When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, serving in Europe until the war’s end. He then returned to Princeton University, which awarded him a Ph.D. in economics in 1949.
Rosen worked for the U.S. State Department for several years and then joined the MIT Center for International Studies to undertake a research project based in Bombay on Indian industrial development policy. This was the beginning of his long career as a development economist, specializing in the economies of India and other Asian countries. In 1962 he joined the Rand Corporation, where he wrote his best-known book, Democracy and Economic Change in India.
In 1967 Rosen when to Manila, the Philippines, to become Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank, supervising ADB-funded development projects all over Asia. He returned to the U.S. in 1971 and became Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at UIC, where he remained until his retirement in 1985. He spent the following year in China, teaching in a program jointly administered by Johns Hopkins and Nanjing Universities.
During his career, which continued after he retired, Rosen authored ten scholarly books, including one on the post-WWII role of American and British economic advisers in India and Pakistan and another comparing the economic growth trajectories of India and China in the 1980s. In one of his last books he departed from his life-long preoccupation with Asia, by examining the politics surrounding the decision to build a new campus of the University of Illinois on the near west side of Chicago, where it is located today.
Rosen is survived by his wife, Sylvia Vatuk, son, Mark Rosen, daughter-in-law, Kymberlee, and grandchildren, Quinn and Kailee. He also leaves four step-children, a step-grandson and a step-great-granddaughter. A gathering in remembrance of his life was held on the UIC campus on the afternoon of Saturday, May 5. Donations in his memory may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center.