Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I
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Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume I contains original biographical profiles of many of the most important and influential economists from the seventeenth century to the present day. These inform the reader about their lives, works and impact on the further development of the discipline. The emphasis is on their lasting contributions to our understanding of the complex system known as the economy. The entries also shed light on the means and ways in which the functioning of this system can be improved and its dysfunction reduced. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.
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Chapter 94: Jan Tinbergen (1903–1994)

Mark Knell


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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