James Tobin (March 5, 1918 – March 11, 2002) was an American economist who served on the Council of Economic Advisers and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and taught at Harvard and Yale Universities. He developed the ideas of Keynesian economics, and advocated government intervention to stabilize output and avoid recessions. His academic work included pioneering contributions to the study of investment, monetary and fiscal policy and financial markets. He also proposed an econometric model for censored dependent variables, the well-known Tobit model. Along with fellow Neo-Keynesian economist James Meade in 1977, Tobin proposed nominal GDP targeting as a monetary policy rule in 1980. Tobin received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1981 for “creative and extensive work on the analysis of financial markets and their relations to expenditure decisions, employment, production and prices.”
Outside academia, Tobin was widely known for his suggestion of a tax on foreign exchange transactions, now known as the “Tobin tax”. This was designed to reduce speculation in the international currency markets, which he saw as dangerous and unproductive.