Max O. Lorenz
Max Otto Lorenz

(1876-09-19)September 19, 1876
DiedJuly 1, 1959(1959-07-01) (aged 82)
Academic career
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Iowa
Balthasar H. Meyer
ContributionsLorenz curve

Max Otto Lorenz (/ˈlɒrənts/; September 19, 1876 – July 1, 1959) was an American economist who developed the Lorenz curve in an undergraduate essay.[1] He published a paper on this when he was a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[2] His doctoral thesis (1906) was on 'The Economic Theory of Railroad Rates' and made no reference to perhaps his most famous paper. The term "Lorenz curve" for the measure Lorenz invented was coined by Willford I. King in 1912.

He was of German ancestry, his father having been born in Essen in the Rhine Province of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1841.[3]

He was active in both publishing and teaching and was at various times employed by the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Railway Economics, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics and the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission. In 1917 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.[4]

He was married to Nellie, and fathered three sons.


  1. ^ Gerber, L. (2007). A quintile rule for the Gini coefficient. Mathematics Magazine, 80(2), 133-135.
  2. ^ Lampman, Robert J., ed. (1993). Economics at Wisconsin 1892–1992. Madison. p. 28.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. ^ Kleiber, Christian; Kotz, Samuel (2003-10-24). Statistical Size Distributions in Economics and Actuarial Sciences. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780471457169.
  4. ^ List of ASA Fellows Archived 2016-06-16 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 2016-07-16.