Clark was born in Plymouth on 2 November 1905, and died at St Lucia, Queensland on 4 September 1989. He was the son of James Clark, a merchant of Scottish descent who migrated to Queensland in 1878. He was educated at the Dragon Preparatory School at Oxford, then Winchester and Brasenose College, Oxford. At Oxford he studied chemistry and graduated in 1927. He did not pursue a career in science, but his training as a scientist had an important influence on his approach to economics; he focused on using data to test theories and to suggest hypothesis. In 1928 he worked with Allyn Young on a comparison of labour productivity in British and American industries. Next, he worked as a research assistant for William beveridge, who during the Second World War designed the framework for the introduction of a welfare system, studying poverty in London. In 1929 he moved to Liverpool to work with Alexander carr-saunders, a leading applied economist, on another study of poverty. Clark's career as an economist got off to a flying start, but his career as a politician did not take off. He stood as a Labour Party candidate in the general elections of 1929, 1931 and 1935 but was unsuccessful in all cases.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.