Franklin Fisher, Clark Medalist 1973

Citation on the Occasion of the Presentation of the Medal

The John Bates Clark medal of the American Economic Association is awarded biennially "to that American economist under the age of forty who is adjudged to have made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge." For 1973 the Association is proud to award the medal to Franklin M. Fisher, who has contributed continuously and significantly to many branches of theoretical and applied economics, from welfare economics and index number theory to the costing of educational loan systems, and from aggregation theory to the estimation of technological and behavioral relationships in the petroleum drilling and community television antennae industries. In his theoretical work he has concentrated on both supporting the empirical worker in his attempt to wrest meaningful conclusions from recalcitrant data and on keeping the same worker honest by outlining the limits of what is knowable from a given body of data. An example of the first is his work on approximate specification and near decomposability, providing a rationale for much of current econometric practice of stopping short of the estimation of complete systems with potentially an infinity of variables. An example of the second is his contributions to theory of identification of econometric systems and the existence or, more often, nonexistence of aggregates and relationships (such as aggregate production functions) among them. In his empirical work he has lived up to the high standards he set for himself in his methodological contributions. His work represents one of the finest examples of the interaction of theory and measurement in economics.