Nobel Prize-winning economist Lawrence Klein dies

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Associated Press

Posted on October 22, 2013 at 2:02 PM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Lawrence R. Klein, a longtime University of Pennsylvania professor who won the Nobel Prize in economics, has died. He was 93.

He died Sunday at his home in Gladwyne, near Philadelphia, his daughter, Hannah Klein, said Tuesday.

Born in Omaha, Neb., on Sept. 14, 1920, Klein studied at the University of California, Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the Penn faculty in 1958. It was there that he developed the statistical models known as the "Wharton Models" which led to his Nobel Prize.

In a biographical essay Klein said that the experience of growing up during the Great Depression had a "profound impact" on his intellectual and professional career. According to Penn's Wharton School, Klein used early version of his economic models to counter the conventional wisdom that the end of World War II would sink the economy into a depression for a few years.

But in 1946 Klein correctly predicted that pent-up demand for consumer goods combined with the purchasing power of returning soldiers would ward off a depression, according to Wharton, and later he predicted correctly that the end of the Korean War would bring only a mild recession.

Hannah Klein recalled that as a young boy her father had hoped to become a baseball player. But at the age of 10 he was hit by a car and suffered severe injuries, which left one leg significantly shorter than the other. She said he wasn't able to enlist in the Army during World War II because of that injury, so he went to graduate school instead.

Hannah Klein recalled that her father was generous with his time, and his students and colleagues "were constantly flowing in and out of the house." She said "he didn't really talk so much economics at the table," but loved playing with children and grandchildren, and was a lifelong Phillies fan.

The citation that accompanied his 1980 Nobel Prize noted 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."

Klein is survived by his wife Sonia, daughters Hannah, Rebecca, and Rachel, and son Jonathan Klein.

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