Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 94: Jan Tinbergen (1903–1994)
Jan Tinbergen was an early pioneer in developing the field of econometrics and building macro-econometric models that could describe business cyclical behaviour as well as stabilization policy and long-term economic planning. Born on 12 April 1903 in The Hague, Jan Tinbergen studied mathematics and theoretical physics at Leiden University, where he completed a doctorate under the supervision of Paul Ehrenfest in 1929. The core of his thesis was on minimization problems in mathematics, but he provided an appendix where he also considered economic problems, which was added because of his desire to combine mathematics with his political views on social democracy. Tinbergen was Statistician for Business Cycle Research at the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) from 1929 to 1945, and from 1933 he was Professor of Economics at The Netherlands School of Economics, Rotterdam, until his retirement in 1973; but he also served as an expert to the League of Nations from 1936 to 1938 and Director of the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) from 1945 to 1951. In 1969, he shared the first Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel with Ragnar Frisch for “having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes”. Tinbergen died on 9 June 1994 in The Hague, Netherlands. Tinbergen made several seminal contributions to the mathematical theory of the business cycle and macro-econometric model building while doing business cycle research at the CBS. The CBS was a good place to be as he had access to large...
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