Entangled Economists: Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen
24 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 6, 2020
It is 50 years since the first Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to Jan Tinbergen and Ragnar Frisch. This article analyzes, based on their correspondence, the cooperation between these pioneers of econometrics which spanned four decades and various subfields in economics. It is demonstrated that Frisch was responsible for the theoretical breakthroughs, which were then made public and popular by Tinbergen, this is true for the econometric models of the 1930s, the econometric decision-models of the 1950s, as well as the work on utility measurement. This division of labor is analyzed in relation to the goals they pursued in the research and their respective perfectionistic (Frisch) and pragmatic (Tinbergen) approaches to economic science. Both men shared a sense of deep social responsibility, but small differences in personality and approaches to science generated important differences in scientific recognition and political reception of their work. Although they are widely remembered for helping to turn into economics into a quantitative empirical science, it is demonstrated in this article that personal factors were significant in shaping their scientific approaches.
Keywords: Jan Tinbergen, Ragnar Frisch, History of Econometrics, Nobel Prize in Economics, Policy Models
JEL Classification: A14, B23, B20, C18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation