James Tobin

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For the convicted Republican political operative, see James Tobin (political operative).

James Tobin (March 5, 1918March 11, 2002) was an American economist.

He graduated from University Laboratory High School of Urbana, Illinois and Harvard University, served as an economic advisor to the government of John F. Kennedy, and taught for many years at Yale University. In 1955 he won the John Bates Clark Medal, and in 1981 he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.

Tobin advocated and developed the ideas of Keynesian economics. He believed that governments should intervene in the economy in order to stabilise output and avoid recessions. His academic work included pioneering contributions to the study of investment, monetary and fiscal policy and financial markets. Furthermore, he proposed an econometric model for censored endogenous variables, the well known "Tobit model".

Outside of academia, Tobin became widely known for his suggestion of a tax on foreign exchange transactions, now known as the "Tobin tax". This was designed to reduce speculation on currency markets, which he saw as unproductive. He also suggested that the proceeds of the tax could be used to fund projects for the benefit of Third World countries, or to support the United Nations.

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James Tobin

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