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Born in Los Angeles, California, son of Rader John Hilbe and Nadyne Anderson Hilbe, Hilbe graduated from Paradise, CA high school (1962) and California State University, Chico in 1968 with a degree in philosophy. He studied for his doctorate in philosophy at U.C.L.A. where he was a graduate reader for Fredrick von Hayek and personal assistant to Rudolf Carnap.
Hilbe secured a position at the University of Hawaii, where he retired as an emeritus professor of philosophy in 1990. In 1988 he earned a doctorate in statistics (applied mathematics, U.C.L.A.) and was hired by the HCFA to develop statistical and data management tools for the study of Medicare data.
Hilbe served as the founding editor of the Stata Technical Bulletin (predecessor to the The Stata Journal) from 1991 to 1993, for which he developed a variety of statistical software algorithms, including the first generalized linear models program having a negative binomial regression family. He is widely regarded as having popularized negative binomial regression, which is now a well used statistical method for modeling count response data. Hilbe also derived a new (Hilbe) parameterization of the censored Poisson and censored negative binomial, allowing for count survival models.
Hilbe was appointed as software reviews editor for The American Statistician in 1997, where he has remained until the present. He is also on the editorial boards of four other academic journals and has authored several well accepted texts in statistical modeling (see references).
Hilbe was elected as Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society in 2006. He has written numerous book chapters and subject descriptions for various encyclopedias, as well as over seventy journal articles between 1990 and 2006. He has presented numerous seminars on generalized linear models and negative binomial regression throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. He is also one of the founding instructors at the statistics.com website
Joe Hilbe won the National AAU Pentathlon Championships in 1968 and 1978, the last year it was held as a national championship event. He was also listed in the Track & Field News World List rankings in the 100 yards (9.4, 1967) and 400 meters (45.9, 1965).
Hilbe served as National Chair for AAU Girl's Junior Olympic Track & Field from 1979-1982, and was Head Women's Track & Field coach at the University of Hawaii from 1979-1985. His foremost athletes were Gwen Loud, 1984 NCAA Division 1 Long Jump Champion and a member of the U.S. team to the first International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Helsinki, 1983, and Gwen Gardner, second at the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials 400 meters, earning a berth on the Olympic team that boycotted the Moscow Olympic Games. As an assistant coach at the University of Hawaii, Hilbe coached Terry Albritton, who broke the Shot Put world record in 1976, and won numerous AAU and NCAA titles. Hilbe was selected to serve as a U.S. team coach and manager during the 1980's for several major competitions in the U.S, Europe, and Asia.
Hilbe was a member of the founding committee that formed the National Track & Field Officials Association in 1977. He was a lead competition official and IAAF technical adviser at the 1984 Olympic Games and was hired by Turner Broadcasting System to serve as Athletics Broadcast Coordinator for the 1990 Goodwill Games held in Seattle, WA.
 Publications: Books and Book Chapters
- Hilbe, Joseph M., Negative Binomial Regression, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (2007)
- Hardin, J.W. and J.M. Hilbe, Generalized Linear Models and Extensions, Second Edition, College Station, TX: Stata Press (2007)
- Hardin, J.W. and J.M. Hilbe, Generalized Estimating Equations, London,UK: Chapman & Hall/CRC Press (2002)
- Hardin, J.W. and J.M. Hilbe, Generalized Linear Models and Extensions, College Station, TX: Stata Press (2001)
- Hilbe, Joseph, Sentential Logic, Educational Services Pub. Co. (1983)
- Hilbe, Joseph M., Fundamentals of Conceptual Analysis,Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt (1977)
- Hilbe, Joseph, Philosophical Foundations of Law, Educational Services Pub. Co. (1973)
- Hilbe, J.M., Experiencing Philosophy, Educational Services Pub. Co. (1970)
- Hilbe,J.M. and J.W. Hardin, Generalized Estimating Equations for Longitudinal Panel Analysis in S. Menard (Editor), Handbook of Longitudinal Research: Design, Measurement, and Analysis, London, UK: Elsevier (2007).
- Hilbe, Joseph and William Greene, Count Response Regression Models, in C.R. Rao, J.P. Miller, and D.C.Rao (Editors), Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Elsevier Handbook of Statistics Series. London, UK: Elsevier (2007).
- Holmes, J.D., J. Rohn, and J. Hilbe, Informatics and Software Applications for Data Analyses in Van Beneden, C. and N. Mikanatha, (editors), Infectious Disease Surveillance, London: Blackwell (2007).
- Hilbe, Joseph M., The Coevolution of Statistics and Hz. In S. Sawilowsky (ed.),Real Data Analysis, American Educational Research Association, SIG/Educational Statisticians: Information Age Publishing (2006).
- Hilbe, J. and L. Hamilton, Statistical Analysis Using Stata, in R. Stine & J. Fox (Editors), Statistical Computing Environments for Social Research, Sage Publishing Co. (1997).
- Hilbe, J. and B. Turlach, Generalized Linear Models, in W. Haerdle, S. Klinke, B Turlach (Editors), XploRe: An interactive Statistical Computing Environment, Springer-Verlag (1995).