The purpose of Penn State Behrend's Economic Research Institute of Erie (ERIE) is to collect, analyze, interpret and disseminate data and information on the Erie regional (Erie County) economy. Another important goal of ERIE is to provide our undergraduates with relevant experience with applied economic research and data. 

Established in late 1982, the Institute is an applied research unit of Penn State Behrend's Sam and Irene Black School of Business. We do not wish to duplicate the activities of other Erie-area organizations. Rather, we seek to use our collective training and experience in the areas of data manipulation and technical analysis to provide support to those whose expertise falls in different fields.

ERIE's continuing research program seeks to help the local community better understand the regional economy and its linkages to the national economy. ERIE provides a source of information for local leaders and media who have questions about the local, national and international economies. ERIE compiles data on the local economy from a range of sources, and helps local users access and evaluate these data.

Some of the studies that ERIE has undertaken include:

  • creation of a sophisticated model to forecast total Erie employment, as well as employment in durables and nondurables manufacturing, total manufacturing, and non-manufacturing industries;
  • measurement of labor productivity in Erie’s industries compared to that of the nation;
  • three studies of philanthropic giving in the Erie area, and one in the Berks County (Reading) area, sponsored by leading non-profit agencies;
  • a model to estimate the cost of living in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania for a state government agency;
  • an examination of the effect of Erie's changing industrial structure on the severity of its business cycle; and
  • evaluation of survey data on economic development issues for two Pennsylvania communities, sponsored by GTE.

ERIE hosts an annual conference on the Penn State Behrend campus each spring that gives an overview of the national, international and regional economies, and provides up-to-date forecasts for the Erie area. The 2003 conference presented data on the severity of the “brain drain” problem in the local area, and the first-ever estimates of labor productivity in the Erie area. These set off a lively debate locally in the following weeks.

ERIE staff have made numerous presentations in the local community, speaking to audiences at the Manufacturer's Association of Northwest Pennsylvania, the Erie Community Foundation, the Erie Chapter of the National Association of Purchasing Management, the Erie Conference on Community Development, and all eleven Leadership Erie classes, among others. ERIE regularly provides information for the print and electronic media in the community.


                                                                                         ERIE ECONOMISTS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ____________________________________________________________________________________________________




                                               Kenneth K. T. Louie, Ph.D.,                              


                                                                phone: (814) 898-7150
                                                                   fax: (814) 898-6223

     Areas of specialization: international trade and finance, the economics of labor markets, and the economy of China.

     Dr. Louie is an Associate Professor of Economics at Penn State Behrend. He received his B.A. in Economics from                              Northwestern University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.            He has been on the faculty at Penn State Behrend since 1984 and has won the College's Council of Fellows Award for                                                                                                         Excellence in Teaching and Guy W. Wilson Award for Excellence in Academic Advising. He regularly teaches courses in International Trade and Finance, the Economics of Labor Markets, and Principles of Macroeconomics, and he has designed and taught a study-abroad course on China in the Global Economy: History, Culture, and Society.

Dr. Louie has been a Fulbright Scholar to China and a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. He has presented his research at over 25 regional, national, and international conferences and seminars in venues including China, France, and the UK, and has published articles in professional journals including the International Journal of Finance and Economics, Managerial and Decision Economics, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and the Pennsylvania Economic Review, among others.



                                                                                                   Kerry Adzima, Ph.D.,

                                                                                                   Research Associate

                                                                                                                        phone: (814) 898-7150
                                                                                                                           fax: (814) 898-6223

     Dr. Adzima is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Penn State Behrend. She received her Ph.D. from West Virginia University and has been on the           faculty at Penn State Behrend since 2005. Her research and teaching interests include public economics, managerial economics, and the                               economics of education. She is particularly interested in issues dealing with K-12 education reform and school choice and is an active member of the                                                E.G. West Institute for Effective Schooling. She is also a supporter and volunteer for the Junior Achievement organization. 

Dr. Adzima has presented technical papers at many regional, national and international conferences, including presentations in Guatemala and Mexico . She has published articles in professional journals including the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the Economics of Education Review, the International Review of Economics Education, The Review of Regional Studies, Cato Journal, and the Journal of Economic Issues, among others



                                                                                         James A. Kurre, Ph.D.,

                                                                                              Former Director

                                                                                                           phone: (814) 898-7150
                                                                                                             fax: (814) 898-6223

    Areas of specialization: the Erie economy, regional economics, economic development, and spatial cost of living differences

    Dr. Kurre is an Associate Professor of Economics at Penn State Behrend. He took his B.A. in Economics from the University of Cincinnati, magna          cum laude, and completed M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics at Wayne State University in Detroit.

 He has been on the faculty at Penn State Behrend since 1977, and is the only two-time winner of the college's Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as winning the Excellence in Advising and Excellence in Outreach Awards.  In 2005 he won the University-wide Alumni Teaching Fellow Award, one of only two out of PSU's 5,000+ faculty.  In 2009 he received the Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award for mentoring student research, and in 2010 he was named Economic Educator of the Year by the Americans for the Competitive Enterprise System.

Dr. Kurre has presented over 60 research papers at regional, national, and international conferences, and has organized over 20 sessions at those conferences. He has published 13 articles in refereed professional journals such as Economic Development Quarterly, Regional Studies, Annals of Regional Science , and Pennsylvania Economic Review , among others. He has completed over $200,000 of research contracts with the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, eBizITPA, the Erie Community Foundation, the Erie Chamber of Commerce, the Erie Conference on Community Development, GTE North, and the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce, as well as consulting on lawsuits for wrongful death and loss of earnings. Locally, he has conducted three studies of philanthropic giving in the Erie area.

He regularly teaches Introductory Microeconomics, Intermediate Microeconomic Theory, and Regional Economic Theory and Policy, and serves as the Chair of the Economics and Business Economics programs at Penn State Behrend. He regularly works with undergraduate students on his and their research projects, the results of which can be found in the OnLine Library section of this website. He regularly gives talks on the Erie economy to local groups as well as doing frequent interviews for the print and electronic press (well over 200 since 2000.)

He is a past President of AUBER (Association for University Business and Economic Research), a nationwide organization of university research units.  He has served on the ACCRA Cost of Living Index Advisory Board for several years. Locally he is on the Board of the Economic Development Corporation of Erie County, and has served as chair of the Economy Task Force for the Northwest Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board's State of the Region p roject, was a member of the Erie Labor Market Private Industry Council's Skill Needs Committee from 1992 to 1999, and served as an appointed member of the County Council Task Force on Property Tax Reassessment. He also served as President of the Board for the Roadhouse Theatre for six years.

Outside the office, he is a performing member of the comedy troupe In All Seriousness , and an active member of St. Gregory Parish in North East. He lives amid the grape vines in North East with his wife Gail and several large semi-domesticated animals.


weller                                                                                           Barry R. Weller, Ph.D., 

                                                                                                Former Director 


    Areas of specialization: the business cycle and forecasting, with an emphasis on regional employment forecasting, quantitative time-series analysis,            and the national economy.

    Dr. Weller retired from the University in December 2005 with Emeritus status after 35 years with the College. He received his B.S. from Albright                   College, his M.B.A. from Bucknell University, and his Ph. D. from Penn State University.  He joined the faculty at Penn State Behrend in 1971, and is               the only two-time winner of the college's Excellence in Advising Award, as well as winning the Excellence in Teaching Award.

He has presented technical and invited papers at over 40 regional, national and international conferences, including presentations in Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm, and Wellington (New Zealand). In addition, he has published articles in professional journals including the International Journal of Forecasting, the Journal of Forecasting, the Journal of Macroeconomics, Social Science Quarterly, Regional Studies, and Economic Development Quarterly, among others. He also serves as a reviewer of statistical forecasting packages for the International Journal of Forecasting.

                                                                        ERIE STUDENT RESEARCH ASSISTANTS                                                                                                  ___________________________________________________________________________

ERIE has employed more than 40 students as Research Assistants over the years. In their position as Research Assistant, students learn to find economic data on the Web and in publications, to assess strengths and weaknesses of the data, to download the data, and efficiently enter them into standard spreadsheet and statistical software packages. They also learn how to graph, manipulate and analyze the data, turning them from raw numbers into useful information. Along with financial support, the students get a very attractive item for their resume and a set of skills that subsequent employers have found very useful. Our former research assistants have later held jobs with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Philadelphia, and many private-sector firms both locally and around the country. Some of our Research Assistants have been co-authors with us on articles published in professional journals.

Graduate Research Assistants





Undergraduate Research Assistants





Past Research Assistants

Past Research Assistants


                                                                                          FUNDING SUPPORT                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ___________________________________________________________________________

Funding for ERIE’s work has been provided over the years by several sources, some through grants and others through contract work. Current and recent support has been provided by:

The Institute's ongoing research program has been made possible through the support and cooperation of several groups both within and outside the University. Financial support for the establishment of the Institute in 1982 was provided in part by a grant from the Manufacturer's Association of Northwest Pennsylvania. Subsequent funding has come from GPU and the Signature Management Group, as well as later support from the Manufacturer’s Association. Additional support in the form of data contributions or funding for commissioned studies has been provided by various agencies and groups, including Erie Community Foundation which provided important seed capital for this Web site, the Workforce Investment Board of Northwest Pennsylvania through its State of the Region project, the Erie Conference on Community Development (now part of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership), United Way of Erie CountyBerks County Community Foundation and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania . The University provides staff salaries, library and travel support, research facilities, partial support for student research assistants, and state of the art computer hardware and software.

In order to continue and expand the operations of ERIE over the next few years, we will need financial support from the community. We are looking for sponsors for the annual Erie conference, and partners to fund specific studies. Since we can draw on a large pool of talent in the form of both Penn State Behrend faculty and students, ERIE will be able to do more for the community as more funds are available.

Your financial support will enable us to answer important questions for the Erie economy, as well as supporting a number of hard-working undergraduate students. We can also work with you on projects of your choice, for proprietary use. If you have a project that you would like to discuss, or if you are interested in supporting one of the projects that ERIE has on the drawing board, please contact us at 898-6266 or e-mail either of the ERIE Co-Directors.

We may also be able to help you find a good intern for that project you just don’t have time to do yourself, or a good employee who is able to do business analysis and number-crunching.