Lawrence Fisher: Created the Benchmark for Research-Quality Data

Lawrence Fisher was born in Los Angeles, CA on October 19, 1929. He attended Pomona College and earned a BA in Economics in 1951. He later attended the University of Chicago earning an AM in 1955 and a Ph.D. in 1956, both in Economics. 

Fisher served as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business (now Booth School of Business) from 1957 until 1978. He also served as the Associate Director of the Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) from 1960 until 1978.  He then joined Rutgers University Business School, Faculty of Management, Department of Finance and Economics. In 1990, he was named the First Fidelity Bank Research Professor of Finance. He was professor emeritus at the time of his death in 2008 at the age of 78.

Professor Fisher’s research interests were in problems related to the behavior of financial markets, including the measurement of risk and return (e.g., indexes, betas, computer algorithms, and construction of data bases); portfolio theory; option theory; market efficiency; duration, risk, and immunization of fixed-income securities; information; capital structure; and effects of taxes and transaction costs. He served as author, co-author and contributor to many research papers and books on these topics. 

William L. Fouse, indexing pioneer and co-founder of Mellon Capital described the role of Lawrence Fisher in the CRSP project in the quote below:

In September 1963, Professor Fisher spoke at the Annual Meeting of the American Statistical Association held in Cleveland, Ohio. His presentation to the Business and Economic Statistics Section was titled Use of Electronic Computers in the Quality of Financial Data. The presentation discusses the many challenges and the novel methods used to develop the CRSP stock file, one of the first research--quality financial databases. The full the text of the speech follows on the next page.

CRSP thanks Mrs. Lois A. Fisher for allowing us to reprint and share this paper.