Robert Hoffman, MA (Economics)

Senior Associate, CESAR Initiative, and President, whatIf? Technologies Inc.

(613) 232-5613 |

Economist by training and systems modeller by vocation, Robert Hoffman has been involved in integrated socio-economic and biophysical systems modelling for four decades, first as an analyst and research program director at Statistics Canada, then as Research Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, and currently as co-founder and President of whatIf? Technologies Inc. ​

After receiving a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, he joined the team at Statistics Canada that pioneered the development of commodity-by-industry and multi-regional input-output analysis for Canada, collaborating with Professor T.I. Matuszewski and Nobel Laureate Wassily Leontief. Influenced by the system dynamics modelling of Jay Forrester, he led his research team in the development of a succession of dynamic socio-economic resource systems models that were concerned with the postwar demographic transition, industrial strategy, and the oil crises of the 1970s. This work gave rise to the design approach to socio-economic modelling, the design for a database of industrial process descriptions, and the first generations of what became the whatIf? modelling platform. ​​

Robert has extensive knowledge of data sources, surveys and data collection methodology, and extensive experience in modelling, quantitative techniques and in research management. He is author or co-author of more than 20 articles and professional papers published in scholarly journals and books. His work in global systems modelling has been recognized by the United States Association for the Club of Rome for which he received a Lifetime Achievement Award. ​


Hoffman, Robert. Towards a Conceptual System for Managing in the Anthropocene. Cadmus Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, October 2016, pp 149-158.

Hoffman, Robert and McInnis, Bertram. Concepts for a New Generation of Global Modelling Tools: Expanding our Capacity for Perception. Cadmus Journal Vol 2, Issue 5, October 2015.

Hoffman, Robert. On the Need for New Economic Foundations: A Critique on Mainstream Macroeconomics. Cadmus Journal Vol 1, Issue 5, Part 2, pp 74-85, October 2012.

Turner, G.M., Hoffman, Robert, McInnis, Bertram, Poldy Franzi & Foran, Barney. A tool for strategic biophysical assessment of a national economy: The Australian stocks and flows framework. Environmental Modelling & Software 26 (2011), pp 1134 – 1149.

Hoffman, Robert. A Cybernetic Approach to Economics. Cybernetics & Human Knowing. Vol 17, no. 4, pp 89-97, 2010.

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Lennox, James A, Graham Turner, Robert Hoffman, Bert McInnis. Modeling Basic Industries in the Australian Stocks and Flows Framework. Journal of Industrial Ecology, Fall 2004, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp 101-120. MIT Press.

Chan, Albert W., Robert Hoffman, and Bert McInnis. The Role of Systems Modelling for Sustainable Development Policy Analysis: The Case of Bio-ethanol. Ecology and Society 9(2): 6. [online]: 2004

Chan, Albert, Robert Hoffman, Bert McInnis, and David Minns. Sustainability Assessment Using Dynamic Systems Modelling. Paper No. ESC-73, presented at the meetings of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc., Vienna, 2001.

Hoffman, Robert. Modelling as an Instrument of Change. Presented at Pacem in Mirabus XXVI and published in CACOR Proceedings, Series 1, No. 28, Winter, 1998-99.

Hoffman, Robert and Bert McInnis. An Overview of the Global Systems Simulator. ROBBERT Associates Ltd. September, 1997.

Hoffman, Robert and Lucille Bish. Integrating Land Use and Transportation Planning: A Strategic Approach, Plan Canada, January, 1993.

Hoffman, Robert. Concepts for a New Generation of Global Modelling Tools: Expanding our Capacity for Perception. Report of the CACOR Global Modelling Project Team published in CACOR Proceedings, Series 1, No. 7, September 1993.

Hoffman, Robert, Bert McInnis, and William S. Page. Process Analysis in M.B. Bever ed. Concise Encyclopedia of Materials Economics, Policy and Management. Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1993.

Hoffman, R. B. and B.C. McInnis. The Evolution of Socio-Economic Modeling in Canada. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol 33, No. 4, July 1988.

Hoffman, Robert. On Measuring the Cost of Inaction. Chapter VIII in Alex Davidson and Michael Dence (eds) The Brundtland Challenge and the Cost of Inaction.The Royal Society of Canada and the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Halifax, 1988.

Gault, F. D., K. E. Hamilton, R. B. Hoffman, and B. C. McInnis. The Design Approach to Socio-Economic Modelling, Futures, February, 1987.

Gault, F.D., R.B. Hoffman, and B.C. McInnis. The Path to Process Data, Futures, October, 1985.

Hoffman, R. B., K.E. Hamilton, and G.T. Sande. Energy Modelling in SERF: the Socio-Economic Resource Framework. In B. Lev et al (eds) Analytic Techniques for Energy Planning, North Holland, New York, 1984.

Hoffman, Robert, Bert McInnis, et al. The Socio-Economic Resource Framework: A Users Guide. Structural Analysis Division, Statistics Canada, 1983.

Hoffman, R.B., R.H.H. Moll, and K.H. Dickinson. Alternative Off-Oil Scenarios for Ontario in Beyond the Energy Crisis: Opportunity and Challenge. Eds: Rocco A. Fazzolare and Craig B. Smith, Volume 1, Pergammon Press, New York, 1981

Hoffman, Robert and J. N. Kent. Design for Commodity-by-Industry Interregional Input-Output Models. In Advances in Input-Output Analysis: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Input-Output Techniques, Vienna, 1974. (eds) Karen Polenske and Jiri Skolka. Ballinger, Cambridge MA, 1976.

Gigantes, T., R. Hoffman, P. Jordan, B. McInnis, R. Rioux. An Input-Output Model of the Canadian Economy with Supply Constraints: An Approach Using Linear Programming. L'Actualite Economique, 1, janvier-mars, 1975.

Gigantes, T., R. Hoffman, A. Lemelin, T. Matuszewski, and M. Truchon. A New Approach to the Structural Analysis of a National Economy and Corresponding Data Strategies. Paper read at the Econometric Society Meetings, New York, 1973.

Gigantes, T and R. Hoffman. A Price-Output Nucleus for Simulation Models. In Carter, A.P. and A. Brody (eds) Input-Output Techniques. North Holland, Amsterdam, 1972.