Vincent Barabba

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Vincent Barabba (born Sept. 6, 1934) is an American Market researcher and author, former head of the US Census Bureau, and the Chairman and Co-founder of Market Insight Corporation. He is known for his work in the field of market research and opinion polling.


Born in Chicago, Illinois, Barabba was awarded a bachelor's degree in marketing from California State University at Northridge, CA and, in 1964, an M.B.A. in marketing from the University of California at Los Angeles.[1] Honorary Doctor of Laws 2012 California State University Northridge [2]

Beginning as political campaign survey researcher in the 1964 California Republican primary between Nelson Rockefeller and Barry Goldwater, Barabba moved on to become a business market researcher (eventually Director of Market Intelligence) for Xerox Corp. and Eastman Kodak. He co-founded and was chairman of Market Insight Corporation,[3] Until 2003 he was General Manager of Corporate Strategy and Knowledge Development at General Motors, where he conceived and devised OnStar and MyProductAdvisor.

He is a Past Presidentof the American Statistical Association, and served twice as head of the US Census Bureau[4] and currently serves as a Commissioner of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.[5] He is chairman of The State of the USA, a nonprofit corporation providing quality information to the American public on key changing societal, economic, and environmental conditions.


In recognition of his private and public sector performance, Barabba was awarded:

  • Induction into the Market Research Council's Hall of Fame [6]
  • The American Marketing Association’s Parlin Award for leadership (1996) in the application of science to marketing research [7]
  • The MIT/General Motors Buck Weaver Award for individuals who have contributed significantly to the advancement of theory and practice in marketing science [8]
  • The System Dynamics Society’s Applications Award for the best “real world” application of system dynamics [9]
  • The American Marketing Association’s Explor Award granted to organizations that have demonstrated the most innovative uses of technology in applications that advance research [10]
  • The Certificate of Distinguished Service for Contribution to the Federal Statistical System from the US Office of Management and Budget


Barabba has authored or co-authored numerous books and articles, including:

  • 1968 “Political Campaign Management: Myth and Reality” The Ethics of Controversy: Politics and Protest. Proceedings of the First Annual Symposium on Issues in Public Communication, held at the University of Kansas June 27–28
  • 1983 (With Mason, R.O. and Mitroff, I.I.) “Federal Statistics in a Complex Environment: The Case of the 1980 Federal Census,” The American Statistician, Volume 37, No. 3, Washington, DC: The American Statistical Association
  • 1985 “Steel Axes for Stone Age Men” in: Buzzell, R., Marketing in an Electronic Age, 75th Anniversary Harvard Business School Research Colloquium, Boston: Harvard Business School Press
  • 1991 (With Zaltman, G.) Hearing the Voice of the Market: Competitive Advantage through Creative Use of Market Information, Boston: Harvard Business School Press
  • 1994 “Never Say the Model Says. The Role of Models in Managerial Decision Making” in Wallace, W. Ethics in Modeling, New York: Pergamon Press
  • 1998 “Revisiting Plato’s Cave: Business Design in an Age of Uncertainty,” in Tapscott, D. et al., eds., Blue Print for the Digital Economy, New York: McGraw-Hill
  • 2002 (With Huber, C., Cooke, F., Pudar, N., Smith, J., and Paich, M.) “A Multi-Method Approach for Creating New Business Models: The General Motors OnStar Project”, Interfaces, 32 (1), pp. 20–34
  • 2002 (With Pourdehnad J. and Ackoff, R.) “Above and Beyond Knowledge Management” in Chun, W. C. and Bontis, N. (eds) The Strategic Management of Intellectual Capital and Organization Knowledge, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 359–369
  • 2004, Surviving Transformation, New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 170–171
  • 2011, The Decision Loom: a design for interactive decision-making in organizations