Jan Tinbergen

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Related to Jan Tinbergen: Ragnar Frisch, Paul Samuelson

Tinbergen, Jan

(yän tĭn`bĕr'gən), 1903–94, Dutch economist, co-winner with Ragnar FrischFrisch, Ragnar
, 1895–1973, Norwegian economist, corecipient with Jan Tinbergen of the first Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1969). Educated at the Univ. of Oslo (M.A., 1919; Ph.D., 1926), Frisch was briefly a visiting professor at Yale (1930).
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 of the first Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1969). A graduate of Leiden Univ. (1929), he worked (1929–45) with the Dutch government's Central Bureau of Statistics, and was briefly an adviser to the League of Nations (1936–38). He also served (1945–55) as director of the Dutch central planning bureau. He was a professor (1933–73) at the Netherlands School of Economics in Rotterdam. His publications include Economic Policy: Principles and Design (1956), Shaping the World Economy (1963), and Development Planning (1967).

Tinbergen, Jan


Born Apr. 12, 1903, in The Hague. Dutch economist and econometrician. Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Tinbergen was educated at the University of Leiden. In 1933 he became a professor at the Netherlands School of Economics, in Rotterdam. From 1945 to 1955 he was director of the Central Planning Bureau of the Netherlands, and from 1965 to 1972 he was chairman of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.

Tinbergen’s research has dealt mainly with economic policy, the business cycle, and models of economic development, in particular, models describing commodity specialization and the choice of specialties in connection with employment considerations. Tinbergen is responsible for the theory of the “optimum order,” a variation of the convergence theory. According to Tinbergen, modern capitalism is tending toward socialism, a trend seen in the decreasing power of the owners of capital in favor of corporate directors and executives and trade unions and the penetration of socialist ideas in many areas (social security, state-owned enterprises, forms of planning). Moreover, socialism is seen as moving toward capitalism inasmuch as centralized planning does not exceed certain bounds, and certain functions of the central bodies are now delegated to subordinate departments. Tinbergen uses the term “optimum order” to describe a synthesis of the two systems, that is, an economic order combining elements of “capitalist efficiency” and “socialist equality.” His theory, however, has an apologetic aspect insofar as the “optimum order” is to be a synthesis on a capitalist foundation; that is, there is to be private ownership of the means of production. Tinbergen is in favor of peaceful coexistence and economic cooperation among states. In 1969 he won the Nobel Prize in economic science for his work on mathematical methods for analyzing economic processes.


Les Cycles économiques aux Etats-Unis d’Amérique de 1919 à 1932. Geneva, 1939.
Business Cycles in the United Kingdom, 1870–1914. Amsterdam, 1951.
On the Theory of Economic Policy. Amsterdam, 1952.
Economic Policy, Principles and Design. Amsterdam, 1956.
International Economic Integration, 2nd ed. Amsterdam, 1965.
In Russian translation:
Matematicheskie modeli ekonomicheskogo rosta. Moscow, 1967. (With H. Bos.)


Leont’ev, L. A. “Esli trezvo otsenivat’ fakty. ...” Novoe vremia, 1966, no. 10.


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Jan Tinbergen, in his classic paper, "The Theory of the Optimum Regime" [83], points out that "as a rule the optimum requires income transfers" because at present the income differences between the rich and the poor are more unequal than is socially acceptable.
Jan Tinbergen, in a recent article [82], has unequivocally declared: "Socialist policy, if it wants to shape a future human race living in happiness, needs a more profound basis--either religious or humanist .
JAN TINBERGEN, The author, a Nobel Laureate, is Professor Emeritus at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam.