Steven M. Goldman Obituary

Steven M. Goldman, professor emeritus of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, died on Thursday, April 17, in Berkeley, of complications following a heart attack. He was 72 years old.


Goldman was a prominent scholar of economic theory and mathematical economics and a mentor to many students. Goldman made important contributions to the theory of economic growth and planning. His work included research on monetary theory, industrial organization, welfare economics, exhaustible resources, and econometrics. Goldman also served on the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, where he provided analysis related to the matching of organs to transplant candidates. He received his bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1962 and his doctorate in economics from Stanford University in 1966. Goldman started his career at Berkeley as an acting assistant professor in 1965, and was promoted to associate professor in 1970 and to professor in 1978. Goldman retired from active service in 2006.


Richard Gilbert, a long-time colleague and collaborator who worked together with Goldman on papers involving resource extraction and competition, said "It was always a delight to work with Steve. He had enormous energy and enthusiasm, and I enjoyed watching his brilliant mind find clever solutions to difficult problems. He was a terrific colleague who could offer stimulating insights on almost any topic." Goldman was a dedicated teacher at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and Gilbert, who co-taught the first-year doctoral course in economic theory with Goldman, recounts, "It was then, and still is, the course most likely to create anxiety in our graduate students. Steve had ways to make it fun. He challenged the students with a take on the HAL 9000 computer from Kubrik's '2001: A Space Odyssey'. The HAL 9000 went amok and threatened the spaceship. In Steve's version the HAL 9000 was a misguided agent in charge of choosing prices to equate supply and demand."


In addition to his contributions to scholarship in economics, Goldman was an avid golfer and a fan of consumer technology. James Powell, the current Chair of the Berkeley Economics Department, took undergraduate and graduate courses from Goldman. He recalled that "Steve loved gadgets. In one undergraduate lecture he came in with the latest HP calculator and explained how he had programmed it (in Reverse Polish Notation) to play the game 'Mastermind.' But his course was inspirational, and though the material was challenging I greatly looked forward to the lectures."

Goldman is survived by his partner, Aimee Bakken of El Cerrito, his son, Aaron and daughter-in-law, Amber Evans of Oakland. His son, Jules, died in 1998 at the age of 19.

In memory of Professor Goldman and his many contributions, the Department of Economics has created the Steve Goldman Memorial Prize Fund, which will fund the prize for the recipient of the Departmental Citation for undergraduate excellence.


"The Steve Goldman Memorial Prize Fund"

The Steve Goldman Memorial Prize Fund was established in 2014 to honor the memory of Professor Steven M. Goldman (1941-2014), who taught at the University of California, Berkeley from 1965 until his retirement in 2006.  Steve Goldman was a leading contributor to research in mathematical economics and economic theory, an avid golfer and technophile, and a major contributor to Berkeley Economics. He was a mentor to many and a dedicated teacher who taught microeconomic theory to undergraduate and graduate students for many decades. The fund underwrites the prize for the undergraduate recipient of the Departmental Citation for academic excellence.


To donate to the The Steve Goldman Memorial Prize Fund, please see the following link: