12 Apr, 2021

Jan Tinbergen economist, Nobel laureate

Jan Tinbergen was born in The Hague on April 12, 1903. The Tinbergen family gave the world talented people: in 1969 the Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to Jan, and in 1973 his brother, the famous biologist Nicholas Tinbergen, received it in physiology and medicine.

Jan Tinbergen graduated from the physics department of Leiden University in 1926, and three years later, in 1929, received his doctorate in physics.

He served as a statistician at the Central Bureau of Statistics, worked for the League of Nations as an economics expert, lectured at the University of Amsterdam

In 1932, Jan Tinbergen came up with the idea that the investment expectations of market participants are inherently rational and can be described by an appropriate economic model. He hypothesized and empirically showed that current stock prices can be used well to predict future quotes.

Since 1933, Jan Tinbergen is a professor at the University of Rotterdam, after 1945 – director of the Central Planning Bureau of the Netherlands, after 1956 and until his retirement in 1975 – a professor at the Netherlands School of Economics.

He was an economic adviser to the governments of a number of developing countries – Chile, Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc., and after 1966 he headed the UN planning committee.

In 1939, having developed the statistical apparatus of multiple regression, commissioned by the League of Nations, Tinbergen conducts a study of business cycles, which is considered to be the beginning of the application of modern statistical methods in econometrics. The League of Nations project, naturally, was aimed not at solving the problems of econometric methodology, but at finding a way out of the most acute social problems associated with the investment crisis.

In 1975 he collaborated with the Club of Rome, wrote a famous monograph on globalism.

Tinbergen, together with R. Frisch and I. Fischer, is one of the founders of econometrics. He is also known for his attempts to apply statistical methods to the study of economic cycles, macroeconomic modeling of economic processes in the countries of the “third world”, formulation and attempts to solve global problems.

Jan Tinbergen died in The Hague on June 9, 1994.