Chancellor's Award honors SUNY Oswego forensic economist

SUNY Oswego forensic economist Dr. Lawrence Spizman, whose research has long guided legal decisions involving the personal injuries of children, has received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

Dr. Lawrence Spizman.Spizman, a professor of economics, coauthored a 1992 article with colleague Dr. John Kane that modeled for attorneys, judges and other economists the now widely accepted basis for quantifying the future earnings of children in personal injury cases.

“Spizman and Kane were the first to address this problem using a probit (statistical probability) model and data on demographic and family characteristics to form an estimate of future lost earnings for an injured minor child,” wrote Dr. Elizabeth Dunne Schmitt, a professor of economics at Oswego and one of Spizman’s nominators for the award.

Dr. Frederick G. Floss, a former student of Spizman’s at SUNY Oswego and now a professor of economics at Buffalo State College, wrote that Spizman and Kane’s scholarly work has been seminal, cited routinely in this state’s courts and in nationally regarded books and articles. It has guided the expert testimony and further research of other forensic economists.

Community benefits

Spizman’s nominators also included Kane and Dr. James D. Rodgers, a forensic economist and emeritus professor at Pennsylvania State University. Each of the four has collaborated on research with Spizman, and all noted that his scholarly work—more than 30 articles published in books and peer-reviewed journals—addresses other complex issues in economics: the influence of public-sector unions, affirmative action programs at colleges, wrongful death and accidents among the self-employed, tort reform and Chapter 11 bankruptcies.

“Lawyers, chambers of commerce and community groups all over Central New York use his research,” Floss wrote. “Professor Spizman’s ability to clearly use his academic research and apply it to local problems is a major strength.”

Spizman’s talent for research that generates community benefits has been of great benefit to his students, Floss said.

“As a former student of Professor Spizman’s,” he wrote, “I attest to his concern for his students and the high regard we have for his work. I also know he continues to bring back his former students to share their research with his current students at Oswego.”

In a letter to Spizman announcing the SUNY Chancellor’s Award, Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley applauded the honor for a scholar and teacher who “has long been a leader, by example, of excellence in all of the work you do.”

Spizman, a member of the board of editors for the Journal of Legal Economics, is a former vice president (east) of the National Association of Forensic Economists and the 2009 winner of its Past Presidents’ Award for Outstanding Services to the Association. 

He has been a member of Oswego’s economics faculty since 1977, the year he earned his doctorate at SUNY Albany.

PHOTO CAPTION: Lawrence Spizman, professor of economics at SUNY Oswego, received the 2011 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

- 30 -

(Posted: May 20, 2011)

Tags: spizman, forensic, economics, chancellor's award