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Okun, Arthur M. (1928-80)


In 1962 Okun's work on the full employment level of gross national product was published in the American Statistical Association Proceedings: Potential G.N.P.: its Measurement and Significance. This work led to what is now referred to as Okun's Law, concerning the relationship between G.N.P. and employment. His graduate studies, completed in 1956, were undertaken at Columbia University. After a period at Yale University, Okun went to the Council of Economic Advisers (1964-9) and was its chairman in 1968-9. From 1970 until May 1980 he was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. His other publications include The Political Economy of Prosperity (1970), 'Upward Mobility in a High Pressure Economy', Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (1973) and Prices and Quantities: A Macroeconomic Analysis, published posthumously in 1981. This last work reflects Okun's interest in implicit contract theory and the way multiple contracts in product and factor markets render wages and prices less sensitive to changes in aggregate demand.

Reference: The Penguin Dictionary of Economics, 3rd edt.