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James Tobin Edit Profile


James Tobin was an American economist who, in his lifetime, served on the Council of Economic Advisors and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and taught at Harvard and Yale Universities. He developed the ideas of Keynesian economics, and advocated government intervention to stabilize output and avoid recessions.


TOBIN, James was born on March 5, 1918 in Champaign, Illinois, United States. Son of late Louis Michael and of Margaret Edgerton.


Post-secondary school education in his native city Tobin went to school at the nearby University of Urbana, where in addition to training in sports, and participated in school drama productions, literary editor of the almanac.

In 1946, Tobin returned to graduate school at Harvard University. The following year he defended his doctoral thesis on "Theoretical and Statistical Study of Consumption Function". Over the next three years, Tobin was a Fellow at Harvard University and did research, and the last year he spent in the Department of Applied Economics at Cambridge University in England.


In 1950, Tobin was appointed associate professor at Yale University, which became his permanent place of work. In addition to teaching, he led research in the theory of financial markets, developed theoretical questions regarding the changes in the size of funds (assets) and the situation in the money markets influenced policy decisions in the field of consumption, production and investment.

When in 1955, Cowles Commission for Economic Research-setting relationship between economic theory and mathematical and statistical research, moved from Chicago to Yale University, Tobin became its director, remaining in that position until 1961. In 1964-1965, Tobin repeatedly served as director of Cowles Commission. In 1957 he became a full professor of Economics at Yale University. In the years 1961-1962 Tobin served as President of the Economic Council of the U.S. President John F. Kennedy. By participating in the public debate on the government's economic policies that unfolded in 1961, he published in the January issue of the "Challenge" article criticizing harsh measures by the Federal Reserve in the currency. These measures, Tobin argued, will oppose attempts to administration of President John F. Kennedy to raise the level of employment and production. Raised in the article topic has been the subject of many research works Tobin, published in the next decades. One of the most significant in this regard is the book "Asset Accumulation and Economic Activity. Reflections on Contemporary Macroeconomic Theory" (1980).

In 1970, Tobin was elected president of the American Economic Association. In his inaugural address to the post, he stressed the need for continuous control over wages and prices. Based on the need for such a policy, he was involved in the entire presidential campaign on the side of Senator George McGovern, co-developed with other economists program of income redistribution in order to increase incomes of the poor. When George McGovern was defeated in the election, Tobin returned to the research and teaching activities.


  • James Tobin eveloped the ideas of Keynesian economics, and advocated government intervention to stabilize output and avoid recessions. His academic work included pioneering contributions to the study of investment, monetary and fiscal policy and financial markets. He also proposed an econometric model for censored endogenous variables, the well-known "Tobit model". Tobin received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1981.

    Outside of academia, Tobin was widely known for his suggestion of a tax on foreign exchange transactions, now known as the "Tobin tax". This was designed to reduce speculation in the international currency markets, which he saw as dangerous and unproductive.


  • book

    • Theoretical and statistical study of consumption function (1947)

    • The American business creed (1956)

    • Asset accumulation and economic activity. Reflections on contemporary macroeconomic theory (1980)

    • Policies for prosperity: Essays in a Keynesian mode (1987)

  • economics

    • National Economic Policy (1966)

    • The New Economics One Decade Older (1974)

  • economics, 3 volumes

    • Essays in Economics (1971–82)


  • Sport & Clubs

    cycling, playing tennis, skiing, chess, baseball

  • Other Interests



Louis Michael - American

University of Illinois

Margaret Tobin (Edgerton) - American - director

agency which provides services in the home

Elizabeth Fay Ringo - American - teacher