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Robb received his Bachelor's degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. He is known in academic circles for his contributions to evolutionary game theory and industrial organization. He immigrated to the United States in the 1970s and obtained a Ph.D. in economics at UCLA in 1981. Robb married in 1990, joined the University of Pennsylvania staff in 1984, and was a tenured professor from 2004 until his arrest in 2007. Robb specialized in game theory, a mathematical discipline used to analyze political, economic, and military strategies. He has published numerous papers on game theory and other economic topics with scholars from Greece, Israel, Japan, and the US. In most of the papers, his family name is spelled as "Rob". He is also a fellow of the Econometric Society, one of the highest honors in economics.
Robb pleaded guilty in November 2007 to voluntary manslaughter in the high-profile death of his wife, Ellen Gregory Robb. She had been bludgeoned to death with a chin-up bar. Her death occurred during a December 22, 2006, argument over the couple's divorce and the plans for their home in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Robb pleaded guilty on November 26, 2007, and resigned from the university, where he had been on leave since his arrest in January 2007. Robb was sentenced on November 19, 2008, to a 5- to 10-year prison term.  He was denied parole in January 2013.
Michihiro Kandori, George J. Mailath, and Rafael Rob: "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games", Econometrica, Vol. 61, No. 1 (Jan. 1993), pp. 29-56