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Department of Economics

Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell

Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1956

As a scholar of centrally planned economies, and especially that of the former Soviet Union, Robert Campbell spent the better part of three decades becoming one of the foremost experts on Soviet-type economic systems. In fact, just a year after his appointment at IU, his book, Soviet Economic Power: Its Structure, Growth, and Prospects, had already become "required reading for all serious students of the Soviet Union," remembered Alex Rabinowitch, professor emeritus of history at IU Bloomington.

The fall of the Soviet Union, however, marked the end of an era and, obviously, Soviet economic power. As the world shifted to a new order, Campbell, too, now in his 28th year of service at IU, adapted. He tapped his expertise in Soviet economics to become a highly desired and internationally renowned consultant.

Campbell quickly became a leading voice in the economics of transition. His 1991 book, The Centrally Planned Economies in Transition: Problems of the Semi-Reformed Economies, "was one of the best early works in the field," noted Michael Alexeev, professor of economics at IUB.

In 1993, Campbell retired. That summer, he was in Kiev, Ukraine, with the U.S. Agency for International Development. There, and for the next two years in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, he advised leaders on privatization and banking issues.

Starting in 1996, Campbell set out to help in the revival of economic education in the former U.S.S.R. In possibly his most lasting contribution, Campbell designed, organized and directed a two-year master's degree in economics, the Economics Education and Research Project, for the University of Kiev–Mohyla Academy in Kiev, Ukraine.

With four decades of economic scholarship, research and advising to his credit, Campbell has published a dozen books and more than 50 articles. He currently has two books in progress—the bio-bibliographic dictionary of economists and a study of the reform of the Russian telecommunications system.

"Since (Bob’s) 'retirement,' the direction of his work has shifted some, but it has not slowed," said Rabinowitch. "Now as before, he enhances IU's standing as a center of academic excellence throughout the world."