Sir Clive William John Granger Biography

(British Econometrician and Winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences)

Birthday: September 4, 1934 (Virgo)

Born In: Swansea, Wales

Sir Clive William John Granger was a British econometrician known for his contributions to non-linear time series. He was born in the United Kingdom a few years before the onset of the Second World War. He began his education at Cambridge when his father was away at war. On his return, they moved to Nottingham, where he completed his education. He received his PhD in statistics from the University of Nottingham, joining its faculty even before receiving his doctoral degree. After teaching at the University of Nottingham for around two decades, he moved to USA, joining University of California, San Diego, remaining there for most of his life. Along with teaching, he carried on extensive research on various topics, writing a number of books and numerous papers. Today, he is best remembered for his extensive work on co-integration, which he carried on with his US colleague Robert Engle, sharing the Noble Prize in Economics for this work with him.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In September

Also Known As: Clive Granger

Died At Age: 74


Spouse/Ex-: Patricia Granger

father: Edward John Granger

mother: Evelyn Granger

children: Claire Amanda Jane Granger, Mark William John Granger

Born Country: Wales

Economists British Men

Died on: May 27, 2009

place of death: La Jolla, California, United States

Grouping of People: Nobel Memorial Prize In Economic Sciences

City: Swansea, Wales

More Facts

education: University Of Nottingham

Childhood & Early Life
Clive William John Granger was born on 4 September 1934, in Swansea, a coastal city in Wales, United Kingdom, where his father, Edward John Granger, was then stationed. He was a traveling salesperson for Chivers and Sons, well-known British preserves manufacturers, relocating wherever he was asked to go. His mother’s name was Evelyn Granger.
One year after his birth, his father’s job took them to Lincoln, located in the East Midlands of England, where they lived until 1940. His only recollection of this period was the declaration of World War II on 1 September 1939.
Young though he was, he remembered how on 3 September 1939, hearing that the war had been declared, everybody started crying. He also remembered how on that very night they all huddled nervously under the kitchen table, anticipating Nazi attacks as the air raid warning went off at ten pm.
In 1940, Edward Granger joined the Royal Air Force, serving as a driver of large support vehicles, first in England, later in North Africa. Clive and his mother also left Lincoln, moving to Cambridge to stay first with his maternal grandmother and later with his paternal grandfather.
From his childhood, Clive was very observant. He later recalled how his maternal grandmother, a professional cook, could prepare delicious meals almost out of nothing and how it came to good use in those days of food shortage. He also talked about his paternal grandfather’s successful but small shoemaking shop.
Clive Granger began his education at the local primary school at Cambridge, where he earned average grade in all subjects except mathematics. Nonetheless, at the age of eleven, he did well enough to be accepted at the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys.
In the high school, he started improving academically, performing fairly well in all subjects. But as he had later said, at this stage he “showed no particular ability… largely drifted through, just taking things as they came.” Neither did he have any “clear-cut ambition or long-term plan…”
In 1946, his father returned unharmed from the war and they now moved to Nottingham, where he joined West Bridgford Grammar School. He loved his life there, cycling each day to and from school. Slowly, he developed an interest in mathematics and soon his potential in the subject became apparent.
At the age of sixteen, he passed his fifth form examination, after which he had planned to find employment with a bank or insurance company, never intending to attend university. But when he found that most of his classmates were joining the sixth form, he too followed them.
At the sixth form, he concentrated on pure mathematics, applied mathematics, and physics. Although he was good in mathematics, he did not to pursue a career in that subject, wanting to use his knowledge more practically. Somehow, he thought meteorology would be a more promising career.
One day, his teacher asked the students about the goals of their life. In those days, Clive used to stutter a little. When his chance came, he wanted to say meteorology, but could not. Therefore, he said statistics, and statistics it became.
In 1952, Clive William John Granger joined the University of Nottingham for a joint degree in economics and mathematics, a course that had been newly launched. With this, he became the first person in the family to receive university education.
In his first year at the Nottingham University, he studied micro and national economics. Soon, he found the mathematical course more fulfilling and so in the second year, switched to mathematics, earning his B.A. in mathematics in 1955.
On receiving his B.A. degree, Granger started working for his PhD with Harry Pitt. Wanting to write his thesis on a topic that was also relevant to economics, he chose ‘time series analysis’, a field in which very little work had been done, earning his PhD in statistics in 1959.
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Early Career
In 1956, six months after he had started working for his PhD, Clive William John Granger joined University of Nottingham as Assistant Lecturer in Statistics. Interestingly, the professors of the mathematical department forced him to apply for the position because there was only one other applicant for it, which the university found embarrassing.
Knowing that he would never get the job, he attended the interview with full confidence, actually enjoying every moment. But luckily for him, the other applicant, who was more qualified than he was, got into a tiff with the members of the interview board and so, was rejected.
When he started on his job, he not only had very little knowledge about the subject, but also had no teaching experience. Moreover, many of his students, especially those returning from army service, were actually older than he was and it was embarrassing to hear them call him ‘Sir’.
The job also had its advantages. He was the only statistician in the university and therefore, those working in various other fields used to visit him regularly, asking questions and supplying him with data. Thus, he was confronted with various problems, which in turn provided him with excellent training.
In 1959, he obtained his PhD with his thesis ‘Testing for Non-stationarity'. In the same year, he earned the Harkness Fellowship of the Commonwealth Fund and with that, he traveled to USA, joining Princeton University on the invitation of Oskar Morgenstern for one academic year.
At Princeton, Clive William John Granger joined Michio Hatanaka to work on ‘Time Series Project’. Concurrently, they also studied Fourier methods with John Turkey, a famous statistician, who had amassed a huge amount of data. Luckily, Turkey was too busy to write any paper and so allowed them to use the data.
At the end of the academic year, Granger returned to Nottingham University, resuming his position as assistant lecture in statistics. Concurrently, he visited Princeton to work on stock market data for next two summers, publishing two important papers. One of them contained the first published computer-generated diagram in economics.
In 1963, he wrote ‘The Typical Spectral Shape of an Economic Variable’; but it was not published until 1966. Meanwhile in 1964, he became a reader in econometrics at Nottingham. Also in 1964, he and Michio Hatanaka published their first book ‘Spectral Analysis in Economic Time Series', using Turkey’s data.
Professor of Econometrics
In 1965, Clive William John Granger was promoted to the post of professor of applied statistics and econometrics at Nottingham University, a position he held until he left the university in 1974. Concurrently, he also took up visiting positions at various schools.
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In 1966, he had his article, ‘The Typical Spectral Shape of an Economic Variable’, published in ‘Econometricia’. This article, together with his 1964 book, ‘Spectral Analysis in Economic Time Series’, established him as an internationally reputed economist.
Sometime in the late 1960s, he began to look for a new line of research. In 1968, he received a copy of ‘Time Series Analysis, Forecasting and Control’ from its authors, asking him for comments. Although he knew very little about ‘forecasting’ and ‘control’ he decided to work on it.
Towards the end of 1960s, he started an intense research, mainly on ‘forecasting’, with Paul Newbold, leading to the publication of their book, ‘Forecasting Economic Time Series’ (published in 1976). Meanwhile in 1969, he proposed a statistical hypothesis test, which became known as ‘Granger Casualty Test’.
Career In USA
In 1973, Clive William John Granger was offered professorship at the University of California, San Diego. He accepted the position because he thought that after almost two decades at Nottingham, he needed a change, subsequently joining UCSD in August 1974. Here, he attracted an excellent group of scholars researching on time series econometrics.
In 1975, he met Robert Fry Engle III and very soon, the two men started collaborating on long-term research. Working throughout the 1970s and 1980s on a variety of subjects like seasonal adjustment and aggregation, they established one of the world’s major econometric programs, revolutionizing experiential work on economic time series.
In the 1980s, Granger and Engle coined the term ‘co-integration’ in order to express causal, but long-run relationships between non-stationary time series. In 1987, they introduced the concept through a joint paper in ‘Econometrica’. The work later became the basis of further research in statistics and macroeconomic forecasting.
In later years, he used the time series methods to analyze data on non-economical issues. Working on the Amazon rainforest, he built a model to forecast deforestation. The results were published in a 2002 book, titled ‘Dynamics of Deforestation and Economic Growth in the Brazilian Amazon’.
Granger remained with University of California until July 31, 2003. During this period, he spent his sabbatical leaves as visiting professor at the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge, both in UK; Australian National University in Canberra, Australia; Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand and University of Aarhus (Denmark).
After his official retirement from UCSD in 2003, he remained attached to the university as professor emeritus, also serving as a visiting eminent scholar at the University of Melbourne and Canterbury University. Continuing with teaching and research work, he also published numerous books and papers during this period.
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Major Works
Clive William John Granger is best remembered for his work on co-integration. Working with Robert Fry Engle, he not only developed methods for analyzing the behavior of different non-stationery time series, but also the links between them. Today, his methods are also being used empirically to analyze the intricacies of the economy.
Awards & Achievements
In 2003, Granger received The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel "for methods of analyzing economic time series with common trends (cointegration)" jointly with Robert Fry Engle III.
In 1972, he became a fellow of the Econometric Society, an international society of academic economists interested in empirical work.
In 1987, Granger received Guggenheim Fellowship for Social Sciences, US and Canada.
In 2002, he became a corresponding fellow of the British Academy.
In 2004, he was elected to the list of 100 Welsh Heroes.
In 2005, he was made a Knight Bachelor by the British monarch.
Family & Personal Life
In 1960, Clive William John Granger married Patricia, a former research assistant to economic historian Professor David Chambers, in Princeton University Chapel, USA. They had two children, a son named Mark William John and a daughter named Claire Amanda Jane. Later, Mark became a computer software engineer and Claire a science writer.
In 2005, the building that housed the economics and geography departments at the Nottingham University was renamed the Sir Clive Granger Building in his honor.
On 27 May 2009, Granger died of a brain tumor at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California. He was then seventy-four years old and was survived by his wife and children.
All the boys in the Granger family had the name “John” as a part of their full names!
As a child, Granger did not really do well in school. He later recalled how one of his teachers had told his mother he would never be successful. He then went on to add, “… which illustrates the difficulties of long-run forecasting on inadequate data.”
Granger always considered himself to be especially lucky. Some of his friends too shared his views. They would call his name while trying to find parking places even in far off places like Florence and it always worked.

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