Tobin, James 1918-2002

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TOBIN, James 1918-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born March 5, 1918, in Champaign, IL; died after a stroke March 11, 2002, in New Haven, CT. Economist, educator, and author. Tobin was a respected economist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Economic Science. He received his M.A. from Harvard University in 1940 before joining the U.S. Navy and serving on a destroyer in the South Pacific; he was also a lieutenant for the U.S. Naval Reserve until 1955. After World War II Tobin returned to Harvard and earned his Ph.D. in 1947. He remained at Harvard as a junior fellow for the next three years before moving on to Cambridge University, where he would spend the rest of his academic career and served as chairman of the department of economics from 1968 to 1969 and again from 1974 to 1978. Tobin was considered an apostle of John Maynard Keynes, believing that government fiscal and monetary policies could be used to benefit the economy. As such, he was on the opposite side of monetarists who held that the control of a nation's money supply was the best way to control the economy. His theories impressed President John F. Kennedy, who in 1960 invited Tobin to serve on his council of economic advisors, which Tobin did from 1961 to 1962, continuing as a consultant until 1968. Tobin won the Nobel Prize for his work on the Portfolio Selection Theory, which analyzes how changes in the stock market affect consumer spending and investment habits. A prolific writer, he edited and contributed to many books on economics, was a former editor of the journals Econometrica and Review of Economic Studies, and wrote several books, among them the four-volume Essays in Economics, The New Economics: One Decade Older, and Full Employment and Growth: Further Keynesian Essays on Policy.



Writers Directory, 16th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.


Chicago Tribune, March 13, 2002, section 2, p. 9.

Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2002, p. B10.

New York Times, March 13, 2002, p. A25.

Times (London, England), March 14, 2002.

Washington Post, March 13, 2002, p. B6.