Dr. James Tobin

From MarketsWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
James Tobin
Occupation Former Sterling Professor Emeritus of Economics
Employer Yale University

Dr. James Tobin was a Nobel Prize winning economist and former Sterling Professor Emeritus of Economics at Yale University. He was born on March 5, 1918 and died March 11, 2002 at the age of 84.[1] He joined the Economics department at Yale in 1950. His research objectives there were "to provide Keynesian economics with more rigorous foundations and to tighten and elaborate the logic of macroeconomic and monetary theory." [2]

Tobin's name is associated with the idea of a tax on securities transactions, which he dreamed up in 1971 and advocated for 31 years without its having been enacted. The idea was resurrected in early 2010 in the form of two proposals, one introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio in the U.S. Congress, entitled "The Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act of 2009," and one introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin in the Senate, called the "Wall Street Fair Share Act." [3]



Tobin earned his bachelor's (1939) and master's (1940) degrees from Harvard.[4] In 1941, he went to work in Washington, D.C. in the Office of Price Administration and then for the Civilian Supply and War Production Board. He enlisted in the Navy following the attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequently served four years on the U.S.S. Kearney in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. After completing his military service, he returned to Harvard to obtain a Ph.D. in Economics 1947.

He wrote a doctoral dissertation on the theory and statistics of the consumption function, a lasting interest of his. [5]


In 1981, Tobin was awarded the Nobel Prize in economic sciences. [6]

Published Works

Dr. Tobin authored dozens of books and articles, continuing to write until the end of his life.

  • Policies for Prosperity: Essays in a Keynesian Mode (MIT Press:1989) ISBN 0262700360
  • Two Revolutions in Economic Policy: The First Economic Reports of Presidents Kennedy and Reagan (MIT Press:1988) ISBN 0262700344
  • Essays In Economics - Vol. 1:Macroeconomics (MIT Press:1987) ISBN 0262200627


  1. Nobel Prize-winning economist James Tobin dies at 84. Yale Bulletin & Calendar.
  2. James Tobin, Autobiography. Nobelprize.org.
  3. Rest in Peace: Why Dr. Tobin's big idea should remain buried. Traders Magazine.
  4. The Tobin Project. Harvard University.
  5. James Tobin, Autobiography. Nobelprize.org.
  6. James Tobin. Nobelprize.org.