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Lawrence Robert Klein is an American economist. For his work in creating computer models to forecast economic trends in the field of econometrics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1980. Specifically "for the creation of economic models and their application to the analysis of economic fluctuations and economic policies." Due to his efforts, such models have become widespread among economists.

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. Similarly, he correctly predicted a mild recession at the end of the Korean War.

In 1954 after being denied tenure at the University of Michigan in the wake of the McCarthy era[citation needed], 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.

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.

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). 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 October 2009 in Bangkok.

Lawrence Robert Klein