Pioneer of modern econometrics dies

Arnold Zellner, a leading economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business who pioneered the field of Bayesian econometrics, died August 11 at his home in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. He was 83 and suffered a stroke while battling cancer.

Zellner was known for the breadth of his contributions to many different areas of econometrics. His pioneering work in systems of equations, Bayesian statistics and econometrics, or time series analysis would each have earned him worldwide recognition.

In addition to his prodigious theoretical work, Zellner fostered applications in fisheries conservation, production theory, forecasting, and many other fields. In both his theoretical and applied research, Zellner believed that complicated problems can be solved by the application of a few powerful, simplifying concepts, what he called “sophisticated simplicity.”

“Arnold Zellner was one of the pioneers of modern econometrics,” said Eugene Fama, Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at Chicago Booth. “He was one of the original giants in the rise of Chicago Booth to the business school research pinnacle. Arnold was a dedicated, creative, and prolific researcher for more than 50 years. He and his lovely wife Agnes have also been great personal friends,” Fama said.

Zellner’s achievements include founding two major journals, organizing two National Bureau of Economic Research/National Science Foundation seminar series, and supervising more than 30 Ph.D. dissertations in economics, finance, econometrics and statistics.

Zeller retired from teaching in 1996 after 30 years on the Chicago Booth faculty, but he remained active at the school until a few months ago, doing research, publishing papers in academic journals and advising students on how to achieve their career goals.

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