Arthur Melvin Okun

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Art Okun
7th Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
In office
February 15, 1968 – January 20, 1969
PresidentLyndon Johnson
Preceded byGardner Ackley
Succeeded byPaul McCracken
Personal details
Born(1928-11-28)November 28, 1928
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedMarch 23, 1980(1980-03-23) (aged 51)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationColumbia University (BA, MA, PhD)
Academic career
InstitutionYale University
School or
Neo-Keynesian economics
Arthur F. Burns
InfluencesJohn Maynard Keynes
ContributionsOkun's law
Misery index

Arthur Melvin "Art" Okun (November 28, 1928 – March 23, 1980) was an American economist. He served as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers between 1968 and 1969. Before serving on the C.E.A., he was a professor at Yale University and, afterwards, was a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. In 1968 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.[1]

Okun is known in particular for promulgating Okun's law, an observed relationship that states that for every 1% increase in the unemployment rate, a country's GDP will be roughly an additional 2.5% lower than its potential GDP. He is also known as the creator of the misery index and the analogy of the deadweight loss of taxation with a leaky bucket.[2] He died on March 23, 1980, of a heart attack.[3]

Okun graduated from Columbia College in 1949 with the Albert Asher Green Memorial Prize for the highest GPA.[4] He went on to obtain a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia in 1956 before teaching at Yale University.[5]


  • Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1975)
  • Prices and Quantities: A Macroeconomic Analysis, see here (1981) ISBN 0-8157-6480-4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ View/Search Fellows of the ASA Archived 2016-06-16 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 2016-08-20.
  2. ^ Okun, Arthur M. (1975), Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1975, pp. 91–92.
  3. ^ Arthur Okun Dies, Economic Adviser to Johnson, accessed 2020-08-14.
  4. ^ "COLUMBIA COLLEGE GIVES PRIZES TODAY; Arthur Okun to Get Award for Highest Scholarship Rating at Class Day Exercises". The New York Times. 1949-05-31. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-04-26.
  5. ^ "Arthur M. Okun | American economist | Britannica". Retrieved 2023-04-26.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
Succeeded by