This first chapter is dedicated to the first work of the Dutch Economist Jan Tinbergen through his early paper from the late 1920s to the early 1930s, when he developed various tools that he adapted to provide an explamation for the dynamics of the whole economy.  Focusing on these steps provides a first overview of the process through which macro-dynamic models were built.

As could be seen, Tinbergen concurrently contributed to the two main lines of research into mathematical economic dynamics of the 1920s: intertemporal optimization and the cobweb mechanism. He was also the first one to go beyond both approaches by developing mixed difference and differential equations, which Kalecki and Frisch eventually used themselves to account for the stability of the whole economy.

In focusing on his early contributions, it is hence possible to highlight the collective dimension of his work and to gain an initial idea of the extent in which new notions and tools were collectively shaped and elaborated within a small group of mathematical economists.

Posts in this section:

[chapter 2 posts]

A micro foundational episode of the early history of macroeconomics: Jan Tinbergen’s first step toward multiple equilibria and coordination failures