Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates

Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates

Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, Inc (WEFA Inc) was a world-leading economics forecasting and consulting organisation founded by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Lawrence R. Klein.

WEFA Inc was a spinoff of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where Klein taught. WEFA Inc traced an interesting path (see below for full details) from its predecessor in 1961 (the Economic Research Unit, discussed below), its initial launch in 1969 (as Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates Inc), to its ultimate merger with DRI (formerly Data Resources Inc.) forming Global Insight in 2001, and subsequent to that, Global Insight's acquisition in 2008 by IHS Inc.

Incorporated in 1969 by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania as a "not for profit" organization, WEFA Inc was an outgrowth of the Economics Research Unit (ERU) located in the economics department of the University of Pennsylvania. The ERU, a research unit devoted to graduate economics education, was originally sponsored by grants from five US corporations including, IBM, Bethlehem Steel, John Deere, Exxon and Sunoco.

Among other things, the ERU was originally charged with the maintenance and use of the Wharton Quarterly Model and the Wharton Index of Capacity Utilization. Between 1961 and 1969 the number of sponsors increased to the point where a more efficient organization was needed to manage the many projects that grew out of the operation of the Wharton Quarterly Model.

In June 1969, when WEFA Inc was incorporated, Dr. Lawrence R. Klein was appointed board chairman, Dr. Michael D. McCarthy was appointed executive director, and the then Director of the ERU, Dr. F. G. Adams, was appointed secretary-treasurer. Other members of the Board were: The Dean of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania, ex officio, The Chairman of the Department of Economics of the University of Pennsylvania, ex officio, Paul F. Miller, (Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania), Dr. Michael K. Evans (University of Pennsylvania, economics department), Dr. Paul Taubman (University of Pennsylvania, economics department), and Dr. Richard J. Kruizenga,(Chief Economist and Manager, Corporate and Environmental Economics, Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey).

Dr. Michael D. McCarthy served as executive director from June 1969 to December 1970. After joining WEFA Inc as Director of Industrial Research in August 1969, Dr. Ross S. Preston was appointed a board member and executive director of WEFA Inc in December 1970.

Preston served as Executive Director until the spring of 1975, at which time he was appointed Secretary-Treasury of WEFA Inc. During Preston's tenure as Executive Director, WEFA Inc not only expanded its sponcership of the Wharton Quarterly Model, but also developed the Wharton Annual and Industry Forecasting Model which integrated input-output theory within the structure of a macro-econometric model. The predecessor of WAIFM was the Brookings Quarterly Model, originally funded by the Social Science Research Council.

The LINK project (also housed at WEFA Inc), which produced the world's first global macroeconomic model, was mentioned in Klein's citation for the Economic Sciences in 1980.

The various organization which acquired the rights to distribute WQM and WAIFM include: 1961-69 Economics Research Unit (University of Pennsylvania) distributes the Wharton Quarterly Model; 1969 University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees (WEFA Inc is incorporated and takes over distribution of the Wharton Quarterly Model); 1969 WEFA Inc begins distribution of the Wharton Annual and Industry Forecasting Model; 1980 Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. acquires WEFA Inc; 1983 Cie International de Services en Informatique acquires WEFA Inc; 1986 WEF Associates AG acquires WEFA Inc; 1987 WEF Associates AG acquires Chase Econometrics, WEFA Inc becomes WEFA-CEIS; 1994 Information Partners (Bain Capital) acquires WEFA-CEIS; 1997 Primark Corporation acquires WEFA-CEIS; 2000 The Thomson Corporation acquires Primark Corporation; 2001 Global Insight acquires WEFA-CEIS from The Thomson Corporation and merges it with DRI; 2008 IHS Inc. acquires Global Insight.

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