Lawrence Klein

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Lawrence Klein
Lawrence Klein.jpg
Born(1920-09-14)September 14, 1920
DiedOctober 20, 2013(2013-10-20) (aged 93)
Nationality United States
Institution Univ. of Pennsylvania
University of Oxford
University of Michigan
Cowles Commission
Field Macroeconomics
School or
Neo-Keynesian economics
Alma mater MIT (Ph.D.)
UC Berkeley (B.A.)
Paul Samuelson
Arthur Goldberger
E. Roy Weintraub
Bennett Harrison
Ignazio Visco
Influences Jan Tinbergen
ContributionsMacroeconometric forecasting models
Awards John Bates Clark Medal (1959)
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1980)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Lawrence Robert Klein (September 14, 1920 – October 20, 2013) was an American economist. For his work in creating computer models to forecast economic trends in the field of econometrics in the Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1980 specifically "for the creation of econometric models and their application to the analysis of economic fluctuations and economic policies." Due to his efforts, such models have become widespread among economists. Harvard University professor Martin Feldstein told the Wall Street Journal that Klein "was the first to create the statistical models that embodied Keynesian economics," tools still used by the Federal Reserve Bank and other central banks. [1]

Economics Social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Econometrics is the application of statistical methods to economic data in order to give empirical content to economic relationships. More precisely, it is "the quantitative analysis of actual economic phenomena based on the concurrent development of theory and observation, related by appropriate methods of inference". An introductory economics textbook describes econometrics as allowing economists "to sift through mountains of data to extract simple relationships". The first known use of the term "econometrics" was by Polish economist Paweł Ciompa in 1910. Jan Tinbergen is considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of econometrics. Ragnar Frisch is credited with coining the term in the sense in which it is used today.

University of Pennsylvania Private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of the nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence and the first institution of higher learning in the United States to refer to itself as a university. Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum.


Life and career

Klein was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Blanche (née Monheit) and Leo Byron Klein. [2] He went on to graduate from Los Angeles City College, where he learned calculus; the University of California, Berkeley, where he began his computer modeling and earned a B.A. in Economics in 1942; he earned his Ph.D. in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1944, where he was Paul Samuelson's first doctoral student. [3] [4]

Omaha, Nebraska City in Nebraska, United States

Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska and the county seat of Douglas County. Omaha is in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 10 miles (15 km) north of the mouth of the Platte River. The nation's 40th-largest city, Omaha's 2018 estimated population was 466,061.

Los Angeles City College public community college in Los Angeles

Los Angeles City College (LACC) is a public community college in East Hollywood, Los Angeles. A part of the Los Angeles Community College District, it is located on Vermont Avenue south of Santa Monica Boulevard on the former campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). From 1947 to 1955, the college shared its campus with California State University, Los Angeles then known as Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences, (LASCAAS) before the University moved to its present campus of 175 acres (71 ha) in the northeastern section of the City of Los Angeles, 5 miles (8 km) east of the Civic Center.

Calculus Branch of mathematics

Calculus, originally called infinitesimal calculus or "the calculus of infinitesimals", is the mathematical study of continuous change, in the same way that geometry is the study of shape and algebra is the study of generalizations of arithmetic operations.

Early model-building

Klein then moved to the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics, which was then at the University of Chicago, now the Cowles Foundation. There he built a model of the United States economy to forecast the development of business fluctuations and to study the effects of government economic-political policy. After World War II Klein used his model to correctly predict, against the prevailing expectation, that there would be an economic upturn rather than a depression due to increasing consumer demand from returning servicemen. [1] Similarly, he correctly predicted a mild recession at the end of the Korean War.

University of Chicago Private research university in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890, the school is located on a 217-acre campus in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, near Lake Michigan. The University of Chicago holds top-ten positions in various national and international rankings.

The Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics is an economic research institute at Yale University. It was created as the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics at Colorado Springs in 1932 by businessman and economist Alfred Cowles. In 1939, the Cowles Commission moved to the University of Chicago under Theodore O. Yntema. Jacob Marschak directed it from 1943 until 1948, when Tjalling C. Koopmans assumed leadership. Increasing opposition to the Cowles Commission from the department of economics of the University of Chicago during the 1950s impelled Koopmans to persuade the Cowles family to move the commission to Yale University in 1955 where it became the Cowles Foundation.

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Klein briefly joined the Communist Party during the 1940s, which led to trouble years later.[ citation needed ]

Communist Party USA American political party

The Communist Party USA, officially the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), is a communist party in the United States established in 1919 after a split in the Socialist Party of America following the Russian Revolution.

At the University of Michigan, Klein developed enhanced macroeconomic models, in particular the famous Klein–Goldberger model with Arthur Goldberger, which was based on foundations laid by Jan Tinbergen of the Netherlands, later winner of the first economics prize in 1969. Klein differed from Tinbergen in using an alternative economic theory and a different statistical technique. [5]

University of Michigan Public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

helloy everybody

A macroeconomic model is an analytical tool designed to describe the operation of the problems of economy

of a country or a region. These models are usually designed to examine the comparative statics and dynamics of aggregate quantities such as the total amount of goods and services produced, total income earned, the level of employment of productive resources, and the level of prices.

The Klein–Goldberger model was an early macroeconometric model for the United States developed by Lawrence Klein and Arthur Goldberger, Klein's doctoral student at the University of Michigan, in 1955. Grounded in Keynesian macroeconomic theory, it describes the workings of the United States economy in terms of 20 simultaneous equations, using time series data from 1929 to 1952. The Klein–Goldberger model extended the pioneering work of Jan Tinbergen in the 1940s, and paved the way for even larger models such as the Wharton models of the 1960s, or the Brookings model, with almost 400 equations.

McCarthyism and move to England

In 1954, Klein's brief membership in the Communist Party was made public [1] and he was denied tenure at the University of Michigan, in the wake of the McCarthy era. Klein moved to the University of Oxford, and developed an economic model of the United Kingdom known as the Oxford model with Sir James Ball. Additionally, at the Institute of Statistics Klein assisted with the creation of the British Savings Surveys, based upon the Michigan Surveys.

McCarthyism Phenomenon in the US of making accusations of subversion or treason without evidence

McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term refers to U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) and has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting from the late 1940s through the 1950s. It was characterized by heightened political repression and a campaign spreading fear of communist influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents.

University of Oxford university in Oxford, United Kingdom

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation after the University of Bologna. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Return to the U.S.

In 1958 Klein returned to the U.S. to join the Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1959 he was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, one of the two most prestigious awards in the field of economics. In 1968 he became the Benjamin Franklin Professor of Economics and Finance at Penn.

Brookings-SSRC Project

In the early 1960s Klein became the leader of the major "Brookings-SSRC Project" to construct a detailed econometric model to forecast the short-term development of the U.S. economy.


Later in the '60s, Klein constructed the Wharton Econometric Forecasting Model. This model, considerably smaller than the Brookings model, achieved a very good reputation for its analysis of business conditions, used to forecast fluctuations including national product, exports, investments, and consumption, and to study the effect on them of changes in taxation, public expenditure, oil price, etc.

In 1969 Klein founded Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates or WEFA (now IHS Global Insight), launching the econometric forecasting industry in the United States. Among his clients were General Electric Company, IBM, and Bethlehem Steel Corporation. He was the initiator of, and an active research leader in their LINK project, a consortium of model builders from many countries, which was also mentioned in his Nobel citation. The aim was to produce the world's first global economic model, linking models of many of the world's countries so that the effect of changes in the economy of one country are reflected in the other. LINK, which is now operated by the United Nations, is still meeting regularly, most recently in September 2018 in Santiago, Chile.

Klein served as a thesis advisor for numerous well-known economists including E. Roy Weintraub in the late 1960s.

Later career

During the 1976 United States presidential election, Klein coordinated Jimmy Carter's economic task force. He declined an invitation to join Carter's administration. Klein has also been president of the Econometric Society. the International Atlantic Economic Society (1989–1990), and the American Economic Association (in 1977).

His Nobel citation concludes that "few, if any, research workers in the empirical field of economic science, have had so many successors and such a large impact as Lawrence Klein".

In his final years, he was constructing short range "current quarter models" that use current economic indicators to get a handle on the rate of economic growth during the current and next quarter. In contrast to earlier efforts to model the economy structurally and to use constant adjustments and judgmental estimates for the exogenous variables, these systems are deliberately automatic and mechanical, simply translating available information into a statistically best estimate of current conditions. This represents a very different tradition from his earlier model building and applications.

After formal retirement and until his death he was engaged in macro econometric model building high-frequency models that project the economy in a monthly, quarterly frame. A publication on high frequency model containing countries such as US, China, Russia, India, Brazil, Mexico, Korea and Hong Kong was expected in 2008.

Klein was a founding trustee of Economists for Peace and Security.

He died at the age of 93 in his home on October 20, 2013. [6]


See also

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  1. 1 2 3 "Nobel-Winning Economist Applied Forecasting Models to the Real World". Wall Street Journal . October 22, 2013. p. A8.
  3. Business Cycles and Depressions: An Encyclopedia , p. 361, at Google Books
  4. De Vroey, Michel; Malgrange, Pierre (2012). "From The Keynesian Revolution to the Klein–Goldberger model: Klein and the Dynamization of Keynesian Theory". History of Economic Ideas. 20 (2): 113–136.
  5. Epstein, Roy J. (1987). A History of Econometrics. New York: North-Holland. pp. 114–140. ISBN   0-444-70267-9.
  6. "Lawrence R. Klein, Economic Theorist, Dies at 93". New York Times . October 21, 2013.

Further reading

Preceded by
Theodore W. Schultz
Sir Arthur Lewis
Laureate of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
Succeeded by
James Tobin