Arthur Okun

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Arthur Okun
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Occupation Economist

Arthur Melvin "Art" Okun was an American economist.

He is known for his stating of Okun’s Law which says that for every 2 percent that real gross domestic product (GDP) falls below its trend, there will be a 1 percent increase in the unemployment rate.[1] Okun discovered the law while he was a senior economist with President John F. Kennedy's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).[2]

He also coined the term “misery index” in the 1960s. It was the sum of the unemployment rate and inflation at any given time.[3]

He died unexpectedly from a heart attack on March 23, 1980, in Washington D.C., at the age of 51.[4]


  • US Council of Economic Advisers Member (1964-69),Chairman (1968-69)
  • US Council of Economic Advisers Staffer (1961-62)
  • Brookings Institution Senior Fellow (1969-80)


  • University: BA, Columbia University (1949)
  • University: PhD, Columbia University (1956)
  • Professor: Yale University