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Remembering James Tobin: Stories Mostly from His Students


  • Robert S. Goldfarb

    () (Department of Economics, George Washington University)


James Tobin was renowned as an economist of great distinction. Moreover, his students and colleagues witnessed dimensions of his personality and behavior often unknown to others. Up close, Tobin was a memorable figure who made lasting impressions on those he taught and influenced. This article describes Tobin close up, in the words of his students who became professional economists. Rather than focusing on his research, these stories instead present Tobin the teacher, both inside and out of the classroom, Tobin the person, and Tobin the friend and mentor, painting a picture of a remarkable personality. Exchange rates fluctuate very rapidly, in comparison to the prices of goods and labor. An internationally uniform tax on all spot conversions of one currency into another would reduce these fluctuations. Foreign exchange markets focus strongly on the short run, but this tax would reduce these fluctuations by increasing the cost of such transactions. It throws some sand in the wheels of short-term speculation while increasing the relative advantage of longer-term international investment flows.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert S. Goldfarb, 2003. "Remembering James Tobin: Stories Mostly from His Students," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 499-518, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:29:y:2003:i:4:p:499-518

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    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals


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