|Died||March 11, 2002 84) (aged|
|Institution|| Yale University |
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
| Edmund Phelps |
Duncan K. Foley
|Contributions|| Portfolio theory |
|Awards|| John Bates Clark Medal (1955)|
Nobel Prize in Economics (1981)
|Information at IDEAS / RePEc|
James Tobin (March 5, 1918 – March 11, 2002) was an American economist who served on the Council of Economic Advisers and consulted with 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. 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 dependent variables, the well-known Tobit model.
Along with fellow neo-Keynesian economist James Meade in 1977,Tobin proposed nominal GDP targeting as a monetary policy rule in 1980. Tobin received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1981 for "creative and extensive work on the analysis of financial markets and their relations to expenditure decisions, employment, production and prices."
Outside 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.
Tobinwas born on March 5, 1918, in Champaign, Illinois. His father was Louis Michael Tobin (b. 1879), a journalist working at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. His father had fought in World War I, was a member of the first Greek organization at Illinois (Delta Tau Delta fraternity Beta Upsilon chapter), and was credited as the inventor of 'Homecoming'. His mother, Margaret Edgerton Tobin (b. 1893), was a social worker. Tobin followed primary school at the University Laboratory High School of Urbana, Illinois, a laboratory school in the university's campus.
In 1935, on his father's advice, Tobin took the entrance exams for Harvard University. Despite no special preparation for the exams, he passed and was admitted with a national scholarship from the university. During his studies he first read Keynes' The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money , published in 1936. Tobin graduated summa cum laude in 1939 with a thesis centered on a critical analysis of Keynes' mechanism for introducing equilibrium involuntary unemployment. His first published article, in 1941, was based on this senior thesis.
Tobin immediately started graduate studies, also at Harvard, earning his AM degree in 1940. In 1941, he interrupted graduate studies to work for the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply and the War Production Board in Washington, D.C. The next year, after the United States entered World War II, he enlisted in the US Navy, spending the war as an officer on a destroyer, including, among possible others, the USS Kearny (DD-432). At the end of the war he returned to Harvard and resumed studies, receiving his Ph.D. in 1947 with a thesis on the consumption function written under the supervision of Joseph Schumpeter. In 1947 Tobin was elected a Junior Fellow of Harvard's Society of Fellows, which allowed him the freedom and funding to spend the next three years studying and doing research.
In 1950 Tobin moved to Yale University, where he remained for the rest of his career. He joined the Cowles Foundation, which moved to Yale in 1955, also serving as its president between 1955–1961 and 1964–1965. His main research interest was to provide microfoundations to Keynesian economics, with a special focus on monetary economics. One of his frequent collaborators was his Yale colleague William Brainard. In 1957 Tobin was appointed Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale.
Besides teaching and research, Tobin was also strongly involved in the public life, writing on current economic issues and serving as an economic expert and policy consultant. During 1961–62, he served as a member of John F. Kennedy's Council of Economic Advisors, under the chairman Walter Heller, then acted as a consultant between 1962–68. Here, in close collaboration with Arthur Okun, Robert Solow and Kenneth Arrow, he helped design the Keynesian economic policy implemented by the Kennedy administration. Tobin also served for several terms as a member of the Board of Governors of Federal Reserve System Academic Consultants and as a consultant of the US Treasury Department.
Tobin was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal in 1955 and, in 1981, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. He was a fellow of several professional associations, holding the position of president of the American Economic Association in 1971.
In 1972 Tobin, along with fellow Yale economics professor William Nordhaus, published Is Growth Obsolete?,an article that introduced the Measure of Economic Welfare as the first model for economic sustainability assessment, and economic sustainability measurement.
In 1982–1983, Tobin was Ford Visiting Research Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley.In 1988 he formally retired from Yale, but continued to deliver some lectures as Professor Emeritus and continued to write. He died on March 11, 2002, in New Haven, Connecticut.
Tobin was a trustee of Economists for Peace and Security.
James Tobin married Elizabeth Fay Ringo, a former M.I.T. student of Paul Samuelson, on September 14, 1946. They had four children: Margaret Ringo (born in 1948), Louis Michael (born in 1951), Hugh Ringo (born in 1953) and Roger Gill (born in 1956). In late June, 2009, the family announced via a private email that Tobin's wife had died at the age of 90.[ citation needed ]
In August 2009 in a roundtable interview in Prospect magazine, Adair Turner supported the idea of new global taxes on financial transactions, warning that the "swollen" financial sector paying excessive salaries had grown too big for society. Lord Turner's suggestion that a "Tobin tax" – named after James Tobin – should be considered for financial transactions made headlines around the world.
Tobin's Tobit model of regression with censored endogenous variables (Tobin 1958a) is a standard econometric technique. His "q" theory of investment (Tobin 1969), the Baumol–Tobin model of the transactions demand for money (Tobin 1956), and his model of liquidity preference as behavior toward risk (the asset demand for money) (Tobin 1958b) are all staples of economics textbooks.
In his 1958 article Tobin also led the way in showing how to deal with utility maximization under uncertainty with an infinite number of possible states. As Palda explains "One way to get out of the mess of figuring out asset prices using a model of maximizing the expected utility of investing in stocks is to make assumptions about either preferences or the probabilities of the different possible states of the world. Nobellist James Tobin (1958) took this line and discovered that in some cases you do not need to worry about the utility of income in thousands of states, and the attached probabilities, to solve the consumer's choice on how to spread income among states. When preferences contain only a linear and a squared term (a case of diminishing returns) or the probabilities of different stock returns follow a normal distribution (an equation that contains a linear and squared terms as parameters), a simple formulation of a person's investment choices becomes possible. Under Tobin's assumptions we can reformulate the person's decision problem as being one of trading off risk and expected return. Risk, or more precisely the variance of your investment portfolio creates spread in the returns you expect. People are willing to assume more risk only if compensated by a higher level of expected return. One can thus think of a tradeoff people are willing to make between risk and expected return. They invest in risky assets to the point at which their willingness to trade off risk and return is equal to the rate at which they able to trade them off. It is difficult to exaggerate how brilliant is the simplification of the investment problem that flows from these assumptions. Instead of worrying about the investor's optimization problem in potentially millions of possible states of the world, one need only worry about how the investor can trade off risk and return in the stock market."
Franco Modigliani was an Italian-American economist and the recipient of the 1985 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. He was a professor at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Carnegie Mellon University, and MIT Sloan School of Management.
New Keynesian economics is a school of macroeconomics that strives to provide microeconomic foundations for Keynesian economics. It developed partly as a response to criticisms of Keynesian macroeconomics by adherents of new classical macroeconomics.
Fischer Sheffey Black was an American economist, best known as one of the authors of the famous Black–Scholes equation.
Sir John Hicks was a British economist. He is considered one of the most important and influential economists of the twentieth century. The most familiar of his many contributions in the field of economics were his statement of consumer demand theory in microeconomics, and the IS–LM model (1937), which summarised a Keynesian view of macroeconomics. His book Value and Capital (1939) significantly extended general-equilibrium and value theory. The compensated demand function is named the Hicksian demand function in memory of him.
Irving Fisher was an American economist, statistician, inventor, eugenicist and progressive social campaigner. He was one of the earliest American neoclassical economists, though his later work on debt deflation has been embraced by the post-Keynesian school. Joseph Schumpeter described him as "the greatest economist the United States has ever produced", an assessment later repeated by James Tobin and Milton Friedman.
The Chicago school of economics is a neoclassical school of economic thought associated with the work of the faculty at the University of Chicago, some of whom have constructed and popularized its principles. Milton Friedman and George Stigler are considered the leading scholars of the Chicago school.
William Jack Baumol was an American economist. He was a professor of economics at New York University, Academic Director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He was a prolific author of more than eighty books and several hundred journal articles.
Thomas John Sargent is an American economist and the W.R. Berkley Professor of Economics and Business at New York University. He specializes in the fields of macroeconomics, monetary economics, and time series econometrics. As of 2020, he ranks as the 29th most cited economist in the world. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2011 together with Christopher A. Sims for their "empirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy".
Edmund Strother Phelps is an American economist and the recipient of the 2006 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
Alvin Harvey Hansen was an American economist who taught at the University of Minnesota and was later a chair professor of economics at Harvard University. Often referred to as "the American Keynes", he was a widely read popular author on economic issues, and an influential advisor to the government on economic policy. Hansen helped create the Council of Economic Advisors and the Social Security system. He is best remembered today for introducing Keynesian economics in the United States in the 1930s and 40s.
Jacques Léon Rueff was a French economist and adviser to the French government.
Christopher Albert "Chris" Sims is an American econometrician and macroeconomist. He is currently the John J.F. Sherrerd '52 University Professor of Economics at Princeton University. Together with Thomas Sargent, he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2011. The award cited their "empirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy".
In monetary economics, the demand for money is the desired holding of financial assets in the form of money: that is, cash or bank deposits rather than investments. It can refer to the demand for money narrowly defined as M1, or for money in the broader sense of M2 or M3.
Michael Dean Woodford is an American macroeconomist and monetary theorist who currently teaches at Columbia University.
Phillip David Cagan was an American scholar and author. He was Professor of Economics Emeritus at Columbia University.
Paul Davidson is an American macroeconomist who has been one of the leading spokesmen of the American branch of the post-Keynesian school in economics. He is a prolific writer and has actively intervened in important debates on economic policy from a position that is very critical of mainstream economics.
Macroeconomic theory has its origins in the study of business cycles and monetary theory. In general, early theorists believed monetary factors could not affect real factors such as real output. John Maynard Keynes attacked some of these "classical" theories and produced a general theory that described the whole economy in terms of aggregates rather than individual, microeconomic parts. Attempting to explain unemployment and recessions, he noticed the tendency for people and businesses to hoard cash and avoid investment during a recession. He argued that this invalidated the assumptions of classical economists who thought that markets always clear, leaving no surplus of goods and no willing labor left idle.
William C. "Bill" Brainard is an American economist. He is the Arthur Okun Professor Emeritus of Economics at Yale University, and he served as the provost of the university from 1981 to 1986. Brainard is the namesake of the William C. Brainard chair, which current Yale provost Ben Polak holds. Brainard earned both his economics M.A. (1959) and Ph.D. (1963) at Yale. He has been teaching at Yale since 1962.
Stock-flow consistent models (SFC) are a family of macroeconomic models based on a rigorous accounting framework, which guarantees a correct and comprehensive integration of all the flows and the stocks of an economy. These models were first developed in the mid-20th century but have recently become popular, particularly within the post-Keynesian school of thought. Stock-flow consistent models are in contrast to dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models, which are used in mainstream economics.
Mabel Timlin was a Canadian economist who in 1950, became the first tenured woman economics professor at a Canadian university. Timlin was a pioneer in the field of economics and is best known for her work and interpretation of Keynesian Theory, as well as Canadian immigration policy and post WWII monetary stabilization policy. In addition to her successful research career, Timlin was the first woman to serve as Vice President from 1953-1955 and President from 1959-1960 of the Canadian Political Science Association. She was also one of the first women and one of the very few Canadian economists to serve on the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: James Tobin|
Lawrence R. Klein
| Laureate of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics |
George J. Stigler