Tribute to Professor Perry Shapiro

Economics Professor Perry Shapiro will be missed by his friends and colleagues at UCSB.

September 18, 2019

We are sad to report that Professor Perry Shapiro passed away on September 8, 2019.

Shapiro was one of the builders of the Economics Department at UCSB, having joined in 1969 and working tirelessly until his retirement in 2009. His curriculum vitae lists involvement with 26 university-wide committees during his time here. He endured 53 years of university committee meetings, six of which were spent serving as the Department Chairman. He was generous, good-spirited, and brightened much of the university during his employment. His friends and colleagues will miss him deeply.

Shapiro came from humble beginnings, having grown up in Monrovia, California. He abandoned the family nut business to attend college at UC Berkeley, and eventually obtained a PhD in Economics. He was an Economist of wide interest and skills, writing significant papers in the areas of Public Finance, Taxation, Public Expenditures and Externalities, Education, Welfare Economics, and much more.

Shapiro did not intend on coming to UC Santa Barbara, nor did he intend to stay at the university for as long as he did. In 1968, Shapiro was corresponding with UCSB and Washington University about potential employment. Shapiro was informed that an offer from Washington University was forthcoming, and decided that this was his preferred option. Late at night, he received a phone call offering him a teaching position. Thinking that he was on the line with Washington University, he accepted, and realized the following morning that he had actually been speaking to the UC Santa Barbara Chairman. Shapiro stuck with this choice, and his friends and colleagues at UCSB are all the more grateful for it.