Becker, Abraham S(amuel) 1927-2003

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BECKER, Abraham S(amuel) 1927-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born February 7, 1927, in New York, NY; died of leukemia July 5, 2003, in Los Angeles, CA. Economist and author. Becker was an expert on the Soviet economy and accurately predicted that the USSR's overspending on its military would cause an economic crisis there. A graduate of Harvard University, where he earned an A.B. in 1949, and Columbia University, where he received his master's degree in 1952 and a Ph.D. in 1959, Becker spent the mid-1950s as an economist for the Corporation for Economic and Industrial Research in Washington, D.C. He went on to spend most of his career with the RAND Corp., a think tank based in Santa Monica, California. Here he served as a senior economist and founded the RAND-UCLA Center for Soviet International Behavior in 1983; he was also associate program director of RAND's national security strategies program. Furthermore, in 1974 and 1976 he served as a U.S. representative to the United Nations, focusing on the issue of military budgets. Becker drew national attention in 1980, when he was quoted in the New York Times as predicting that the Soviet Union's expenditures on its military were overly burdensome and deprived the rest of that country's economy of precious natural resources. During his career, Becker published numerous books on economics, many of which concerned the Soviet Union. Among these are Soviet National Income and Product in 1965: The Goals of the Seven-Year Plan (1963), Ruble Price Levels and Dollar-Ruble Ratios of Soviet Machinery in the 1960s (1973), The Burden of Soviet Defense: A Political-Economic Essay (1981), and Russia and Caspian Oil: Moscow Loses Control (1998).



Los Angeles Times, July 16, 2003, p. B11.