**Jan Tinbergen** was a Dutch economist who was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Economics.

- Jan's other two siblings were Jacomiena (born 1905) and Dik (born 1909).
- Jan attended primary school gaining a certificate stating he was "a most excellent pupil".
- These schools allowed entry to the university system after passing additional examinations in Latin and Greek and this Tinbergen did.
- Some of Tinbergen's first publications were articles he wrote for the socialist newspaper Het Volk in which he examined the effects of the economic depression of 1920-22 on unemployment and how the lives of the poor had been affected.
- After completing his undergraduate degree at Leiden, Tinbergen continued to study at Leiden for his doctorate under Ehrenfest's supervision.
- Tinbergen was assigned to an administrative position at Rotterdam State prison where he was to serve for fifteen months.
- Tinbergen submitted his thesis Minimumproblemen in de natuurkunde en de ekonomie Ⓣ(Minimum problems in physics and in economics) in 1929.
- The importance of this work of Tinbergen was that it was one of the first examples of a new idea in mathematics, namely mathematical modelling.
- Of course mathematical physics had been studied throughout the history of mathematics but Tinbergen's work saw a new path for the applications of mathematics, where the applications could be to a wide variety of areas.
- Tinbergen, who had only just finished his dissertation and entered the staff of statisticians, was given charge of this new unit.
- Clearly influenced by the German business cycle research institutes in Berlin and Frankfurt, Tinbergen gradually tried to develop an empirical approach to dynamic problems in economics.
- This plan was based on Tinbergen's mathematically based principles of economics.
- In his contribution to the debate Tinbergen projected a 'quantitative stylising of the Dutch economy' to isolate the important factors and their effects by means of a set of definitions and equations.
- In the late 1930s Tinbergen worked as a scientific advisor for the League of Nations.
- Tinbergen was given two years leave of absence from the Central Bureau of Statistics in which to undertake this work.
- It is a pity that Tinbergen's work received such shabby critical treatment by Keynes (in 1939), but being the kind person that he was, he expressed no ill will towards Keynes.
- Tinbergen's reply to Keynes was in his paper On a Method of Statistical Research.
- Tinbergen later developed other econometric models, in particular he constructed an econometric model of the USA.
- That man is Jan Tinbergen.
- Jan Tinbergen is an unassuming man, who does not trumpet his achievements to the world.

Born 12 April 1903, The Hague, The Netherlands. Died 9 June 1994, The Hague, The Netherlands.

View full biography at MacTutor

Origin Netherlands, Prize Nobel, Statistics

**O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive