UMass Economics

George Treyz, retired professor and founder of REMI, dies

George Treyz
George Treyz

George I. Treyz, 76, died at his home in Amherst, Massachusetts on February 14th, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Sidney, sons Victor and Frederick, brother Russell and six grandchildren.

For more than three decades, George Treyz was a pillar of the Economics Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After receiving degrees from Princeton (BA) and Cornell (PhD), he taught at Haverford College and came to UMass in 1968. He remained a pillar of the Economics program in Amherst until his retirement in 1997, and even beyond because he continued to teach from his position at Regional Economic Modeling, the Amherst-based company he founded in 1980.

A well-respected and valued teacher, Treyz is best known as a pioneer of computer-based regional economic models, the types of models now widely used by regional and national governments in assessing alternative economic policies. In the 1970’s, he worked with the Nobel Prize-winner Laurence Klein, along with Ann Friedlander and Benjamin Stevens, to develop the Massachusetts Economic Policy Analysis (MEPA) model. Later, he expanded and generalized the techniques developed for MEPA to develop the models used by REMI and by regional models used throughout the world. In 1994, Treyz and his colleagues developed the first multi-regional United States model consisting of the fifty states and District of Columbia.

Treyz and his colleagues published widely, disseminating their work so that it could be used by others. In 1993 he wrote Regional Economic Modeling: A Systemic Approach to Forecasting and Policy Analysis. Whether in Amherst, in his work to improve economic policy in Massachusetts or throughout the United States, or in the Economics Department, George Treyz was a conscientious and devoted citizen, always available to colleagues, students, or others who needed help. We were proud to have him as a colleague, and we will miss him.


Dube’s research cited in State of the Union

Professor Arindrajit Dube’s research on minimum wage has been widely cited in the media. In the paper Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous CountiesDube and co-authors, T. William Lester and Michael Reich, examined minimum wage policies between 1990 and 2006, comparing all contiguous county-pairs in the United States that straddle a state border, and found that an increased minimum wage does not have adverse employment effects. Dube told the Wall Street Journal that there is no “evidence of any loss of employment or hours for the type of minimum-wage changes we have seen in the U.S. in the last 20 years.” 

President Barack Obama cited this study during the 2013 State of the Union address in support of raising the federal minimum wage to $9.00 per hour.