Jan Tinbergen and the Construction of an International Economic Order

20 Pages Posted: 7 May 2020

See all articles by Erwin Dekker

Erwin Dekker

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Date Written: March 26, 2020


This paper analyzes the reasons why Jan Tinbergen was initially hostile to the idea of European integration, which he regarded as a poor substitute for an international order. The paper argues that Tinbergen's thought on the international order was crucially shaped by two influences, his thinking about economic order at the national level and his experiences at the League of Nations. His views on economic order on the national level were based on the idea of peaceful co-existence between the different social classes along corporatist lines, supplemented with economic expertise. When he imagined an international order, these elements were again recognizable, but the class-division had now been replaced with a North-South and East-West division. His work at the League of Nations, supported by his earlier pacifism, had convinced him that any postwar order had to be truly international and not Western, and therefore he promoted global institutions rather than regional ones. When global economic integration failed to make the desired progress, he started to reconsider his views on Europe and became convinced that European integration could be a stepping stone towards more international integration.

Keywords: European integration, League of Nations, international order, Jan Tinbergen, Free Trade

JEL Classification: B27, B31, F02, F55

Suggested Citation

Dekker, Erwin, Jan Tinbergen and the Construction of an International Economic Order (March 26, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3561428 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3561428

Erwin Dekker (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA

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