Ferber, Robert A.





Market Research, Consumption Theory


Robert Ferber was born in New York City in February of 1922. He received his bachelor’s degree from the City College of New York in 1942, and subsequently went to the University of Chicago to pursue a master’s degree in economics and statistics. Ferber earned that degree in 1945 and went on to earn his doctorate from Chicago in 1951.

The University of Illinois hired Ferber as an assistant professor in 1948, before he had finished his PhD. At Illinois, Ferber founded the University’s Survey Research Laboratory in 1964 and served as its first director. Under his tutelage, the lab established itself as one of the world’s premier academic centers for the collection and analyzation of survey data, and performed work for the government at the local, state and federal level.

Professor Ferber primarily used the laboratory to conduct his research on marketing. He was a prolific writer, publishing 17 books, 32 monographs, 25 book chapters, and 103 journal articles; the name Robert Ferber became a household name to the professors and students in the field of marketing research.

Ferber also worked as an editor for multiple publications. He lobbied the American Marketing Association in 1964 to create a new journal, the Journal of Marketing Research, which was one of the first journals focusing on consumer behavior. Ferber served in this role until 1969, when he became the editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association.

All of this success gave Ferber an exquisite reputation among his colleagues. He received many awards for his pioneering work, including the Ford Foundation’s Master Scholar Award in 1963 and the American Marketing Association’s Charles Coolidge Parlin Award in 1972. In July of 1981, Ferber suddenly fell ill, and was deceased on September 8, 1981, at the age of 59.


University of Chicago, 1951


  • Ferber, Robert. Handbook of Marketing Research. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974. Print.
  • Ferber, Robert, and Hugh G. Wales. Motivation and Market Behavior. Homewood, Ill: R.D. Irwin, 1958. Print.
  • Ferber, Robert, and P J. Verdoorn. Research Methods in Economics & Business. New York: Macmillan, 1962. Print.
  • Ferber, Robert, and Werner Z. Hirsch. Social Experimentation and Economic Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. Print.
  • Ferber, Robert, and Hugh G. Wales. A Basic Bibliography on Marketing Research. Chicago: American Marketing Association, 1974. Print.


Robert A. Ferber Papers at the University of Illinois Library Archives


Not available

Related Topics