Degree Speeches
Summer 2002

Professor Clive W J Granger

Public Orator, Professor Terence Mills, presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Congregation held on the afternoon of Friday 12 July 2002.


Clive Granger was born in Swansea, but completed his high school education at West Bridgford Grammar School, some 12 miles north of Loughborough on the southern outskirts of Nottingham. He then went to Nottingham University, becoming one of the initial intake into the first-ever joint degree in economics and mathematics. On graduating in 1955, Clive stayed on at Nottingham, becoming a lecturer in statistics in the Mathematics Department in 1956, publishing his first academic paper, ‘A statistical model for sunspot activity’, in the Astrophysical Journal in 1957, and obtaining a Ph.D. in statistics in 1959.

In the early 1960s Clive obtained a Harkness Fellowship and visited Princeton, working on spectral techniques with such famous scholars as John Tukey and Oscar Morgenstern. Although he came back to Nottingham to become a Professor of Economics and Statistics, this visit to the United States had whetted his appetite for life in an American university. Clive eventually returned in 1974 to a professorship in the Economics Department at the University of California at San Diego, where he has remained and has been instrumental in building up the econometrics section to become one of the finest in the world.

From that early visit to Princeton, Clive Granger has been one of the most influential scholars in time series econometrics. His writings encompass all of the major developments over the last 40 years, and he is personally responsible for some of the most exciting ideas and methods of analysis that have occurred during this time. Indeed, it is now virtually impossible to do empirical work in time series econometrics without using some of his methods or being influenced by his ideas. I am thinking here particularly of the concepts of ‘Granger-causality’ and cointegration, which our final year students studying econometrics now employ as a matter of course in their project work. However, his research on spurious regression, long memory, and all aspects of forecasting have also had a profound and lasting influence. Most scholars would deem it the accomplishment of a lifetime if their work were to have the impact of a single one of these contributions. To have had repeated instances of such extraordinarily influential research is surely testimony to Clive Granger’s special talent as a researcher and writer.

One of the most defining characteristics of Clive’s work is his concern for the empirical relevance of his ideas. Another hallmark is the accessibility of his work, which stems from his unusually rich capacity to write highly readable papers and books, many of which have gone on to become citation classics. These successes in communication show us the vital role that good writing plays in the transmission of scientific knowledge. To me, it is no coincidence that the much improved performance of the Bank of England and the Treasury in monitoring and forecasting the U.K. economy has come about since Clive’s ideas and research techniques have been promulgated by his many ‘disciples’ to recent generations of economics graduates, for it is they who form the research teams in these organisations.

Clive Granger’s research has been an inspiration to all time series econometricians, and has been recognised internationally with many awards. Currently he is President of the Western Economic Association and has just become a Distiguished Fellow of the American Economic Association.

It is thus with great pleasure and honour, Chancellor, that I present Clive Granger to you and the University for the Degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

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