Tjalling Koopmans

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Tjalling C. Koopmans
Born (1910-08-28)August 28, 1910
's-Graveland, Netherlands
Died February 26, 1985(1985-02-26) (aged 74)
New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Nationality Dutch, American
Fields Economics, Physics
Alma mater University of Utrecht
University of Leiden
Doctoral advisor Hans Kramers
Jan Tinbergen
Doctoral students Carl Christ
Stanley Reiter
Rolf Mantel (es)
Guillermo Calvo
Known for Ramsey–Cass–Koopmans model
Koopmans' theorem
Influenced John Denis Sargan, Alok Bhargava, Trygve Haavelmo
Notable awards Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1975)

Tjalling Charles Koopmans (August 28, 1910 – February 26, 1985) was a Dutch American mathematician and economist, the joint winner with Leonid Kantorovich of the 1975 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.


Koopmans (1967)

Koopmans was born in 's-Graveland, Netherlands. He began his university education at the Utrecht University at seventeen, specializing in mathematics. Three years later, in 1930, he switched to theoretical physics. In 1933, he met Jan Tinbergen, the winner of the 1969 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, and moved to Amsterdam to study mathematical economics under him. In addition to mathematical economics, Koopmans extended his explorations to econometrics and statistics. In 1936 he graduated from Leiden University with a PhD, under the direction of Hendrik Kramers. The title of the thesis was "Linear regression analysis of economic time series".[1]

Koopmans moved to the United States in 1940. There he worked for a while for a government body in Washington D.C., where he published on the economics of transportation focusing on optimal routing, then moved to Chicago where he joined a research body Cowles Commission for Research in Economics affiliated with the University of Chicago. In 1946, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States and in 1948 director of the Cowles Commission. Also in 1948, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.[2] Rising hostile opposition to the Cowles Commission by the department of economics at University of Chicago during the 1950s led Koopmans to convince the Cowles family to move it to Yale University in 1955 (where it was renamed the Cowles Foundation). He continued to publish, on the economics of optimal growth and activity analysis.

Koopmans' early works on the Hartree–Fock theory are associated with the Koopmans' theorem, which is very well known in quantum chemistry. Koopmans was awarded his Nobel memorial prize (jointly with Leonid Kantorovich) for his contributions to the field of resource allocation, specifically the theory of optimal use of resources. The work for which the prize was awarded focused on activity analysis, the study of interactions between the inputs and outputs of production, and their relationship to economic efficiency and prices. Finally, the importance of the article by Koopmans (1942) deriving the distribution of the serial correlation coefficient was recognized by John von Neumann, and it later influenced the optimal tests for a unit root by John Denis Sargan and Alok Bhargava (Sargan and Bhargava, 1983).

Family and name[edit]

Tjalling C. Koopmans was a son of Sjoerd Koopmans and Wytske van der Zee; his middle name Charles was probably derived from his patronymic "Sjoerds".[3] One of Sjoerd Koopmans' sisters, Gatske Koopmans, married Symon van der Meer; Their son Pieter van der Meer was the father of Nobel Prize winner Simon van der Meer.[4][5]

Selected works[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Hughes Hallett, Andrew J. (1989). "Econometrics and the Theory of Economic Policy: The Tinbergen–Theil Contributions 40 Years On". Oxford Economic Papers. 41 (1): 189–214. JSTOR 2663189. 
  • Sargan, J. D.; Bhargava, Alok (1983). "Testing residuals from least squares regressions for being generated by the Gaussian random walk". Econometrica. 51 (1): 153–174. JSTOR 1912252. 


  1. ^ Tjalling Koopmans (1936). "Linear regression analysis of economic time series" (PDF). 
  2. ^ View/Search Fellows of the ASA, accessed 2016-07-23.
  3. ^ Ruurd Koopmans. De Macht van Twee: Kwartierstaat van de kinderen van Hendrik Koopmans en Minke Jager (in Dutch). 
  4. ^ "Ancestors of Tjalling Koopmans". Family Affairs. 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2017. 
  5. ^ D.Th. Kuiper. Tussen observatie en participatie: twee eeuwen gereformeerde en antirevolutionaire wereld in ontwikkelingsperspectief (in Dutch). Uitgeverij Verloren. ISBN 90-6550-694-2. 

External links[edit]