Institute Marks 100th Anniversary of Ta-Chung Liu

This week the Becker Friedman Institute observes the 100th anniversary of noted econometrician Ta-Chung Liu.

Born Oct. 27, 1914, he discovered economics while studying at Cornell University, and during a 17-year tenure there he made significant contributions to quantitative economics.

His pioneering econometric model of the United States incorporated a novel understanding of the separate influences of labor, capital and technology on output.

He was a leading expert on the Chinese economy in an era when information and statistics about the country were extremely scarce. Having been a member of the Chinese delegation to the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, Liu taught in Beijing until 1948, when he left ahead of the Communist Revolution. His work establishing basic facts about the mainland Chinese economy remained the basic studies in the field for decades following his death.

He also played a significant role in shaping economic policy. In addition to his early-career roles with the Chinese government, Liu held posts at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and later became a principal advisor to Taiwan, for which he was awarded the Order of Bright Star with Grand Cordon, Second Class, in 1970. Among his numerous contributions to Taiwanese economic policy were the development of a floating exchange rate regime, the improvement of basic statistics, income tax reform, and the value-added tax.

In recognition of his accomplishments, the Institute is proud to provide the Ta-Chung Liu Distinguished Fellowship, established with a gift from Ernest and Joan Liu.

This year’s Ta-Chung Liu Fellow is Mervyn King, a former governor of the Bank of England. Like Liu, King has made significant contributions both as an academic at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the London School of Economics, and in the policy realm, for which he was appointed a life peer by Queen Elizabeth. King will visit the institute in April 2015.

–Jeffrey Lamoureux