Yale M. Braunstein, professor in the UC Berkeley School of Information, passed away on July 25, 2012, in Berkeley with his family and wife of 44 years by his side. Yale was a scholar of the economics of information and communications industries and systems, with a focus on telecommunications policy, broadband, and the economics of intellectual property policy. He authored or co-authored more than 50 articles in the fields of economics, information science, and legal policy, and worked as a consultant in the United States and internationally.
As an economist, Braunstein focused on competition in information products and services, in particular on how new generations of products and technologies alter the commercial landscape for incumbent players. His research areas included economies of scale and scope, pricing, market structure, and the economics of intellectual property rights. Braunstein also developed financial, forecasting, tariff, and valuation models in areas that include cellular, fixed, and international telecommunications; cable, satellite, and IP television; and broadband. This work has been used by applicants for licenses, regulators, and policymakers in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, China, Ireland, Israel, Sweden, Ukraine, and the UK.
Yale Braunstein was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Oscar and Betty Braunstein, on January 12, 1945. He received a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University. He joined the faculty of the UC Berkeley School of Information (then the School of Library and Information Studies) in 1983.
In nearly 30 years at Berkeley, Braunstein was engaged in virtually all of the School’s endeavors, making a substantial impact on professional and personal lives of faculty, staff, and students. He advised a number of Ph.D. dissertations in information economics and policy. In recent years, as head graduate advisor for the School of Information master’s program, he oversaw the School’s curriculum and course scheduling and assisted master’s students in navigating the complex university requirements. He acted as the liaison between the department’s staff and faculty, and served as the departmental Equity Advisor and advisor to graduate student instructors.
His generosity, humor, and good advice reached every corner of South Hall and across the Berkeley campus. He was a wise counselor, a tireless advocate for the students’ welfare, and a committed ambassador of the School. He delighted in using his mastery of university policies and procedures to the benefit of students. He served as a mentor for many of his faculty colleagues, offering valuable advice to junior faculty in succeeding at Berkeley and navigating the university tenure process.
Braunstein was an active member of the UC Berkeley Academic Senate. He served as Chair of the UC Berkeley Senate Faculty Welfare Committee and also served as the Berkeley campus representative for the systemwide Committee on Faculty Welfare.
In the words of one of his colleagues, Braunstein acted in these roles with
wisdom, thoughtfulness, creativity, and sensitivity.
Braunstein was a visiting scholar and guest lecturer in China and Germany and at the East-West Center in Hawaii. Working with faculty at the Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM) in Munich, he co-developed and co-taught the course "Realizing Digital Convergence" which was simultaneously offered in Berkeley and Munich with lectures delivered live over the Web. He also oversaw a program that brought several CDTM students to Berkeley annually.
In 2007, Braunstein established the Pacific Telecommunications Council’s O. S. Braunstein Prize for the year’s best student research paper in telecommunications in honor of his late father, a chemist, photographer, and businessman.
Diverse personal interests and a passion for life paralleled his professional accomplishments. He loved cars (especially Lancias), good food, skiing, and travel. An ever-willing conversationalist with a penchant for telling good stories, he always told you what he thought—with wit and humor. Above all, Yale M. Braunstein was an optimist, a learned man, a beloved colleague, a devoted husband, a great father, and a wise brother who will be sorely missed. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, his son, Alex, and his sister, Hetty Jane.
Yale Braunstein, Professor of Information, Dies at 67, Berkeley School of Information, July 31, 2012. Link