Elisha Pazner (1941 - 1979)

elisha pazner
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Elisha A. Pazner was born on April 16, 1941, in Geneva, Switzerland, and died on March 28, 1979, in Jerusalem.

He arrived in Israel in 1953, but left soon after for Argentina because of his father's foreign service position.

His compulsory service in the Israel Defense Force extended from May 1960 until October 1962. Elisha begun his study of economics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (B.A. 1966) and did graduate work at Harvard University (M.A. 1969, Ph.D. 1971).

He was a member of the Department of Economics at Tel-Aviv University from October 1971 until his sudden death. During this time he spent over two years as a visitor at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

Elisha's interests in economics were quite broad.

Although most of his research was in theory and mainly microtheory, he did work in macrotheory, including applications to the Israeli economy.

He belonged to the minority of the members of his department who could quote the recent economic indicators of the Israeli economy.

Elisha's main research efforts were devoted to topics in public finance, public economics, general equilibrium analysis, social choice, incentives and industrial organization.

A large share of these works followed a research plan that was only slightly adjusted over the years.

He was interested in the welfare evaluation of economic activity.

The basic neoclassical premise that an agent's welfare depends only on his own consumption seemed to Elisha too restrictive, and his work about economic equity has helped us to understand how we can research further.

Elisha also emphasizes the issue of procedural justice, which had been neglected by most of the profession.

This was a major stimulus to his interest in decentralization and allocation mechanism.

As he put it in nonscientific terms, "It matters not only what you get but how you get it".

Those who knew Elisha personally are not surprised that he made this point.

Many will agree that the "how" is important for human motivation.

Elisha believed that it can and should be part of welfare economics and it was the main topic on his research agenda at the time of his death.

David Schmeidler
Tel-Aviv University
From Social Goals and Social Organization Essays in Memory of Elisha Pazner

Edited by
Leonid Hurwicz University of Minnesota
David Schmeidler Tel-Aviv University
Hugo Sonnenschein Princeton University

Cambridge University Press

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