Honorary degree citation - Jan Tinbergen*
By: Arthur Lermer, November 1968
Mr. Chancellor, it is with great pleasure that I present to you a world renowned economist, humanitarian, statesman and internationalist, Jan Tinbergen. Professor Tinbergen's contribution to Economic Theory and Policy, and above all, to the economic welfare of his native land is universally recognized. The bitter depression experience of the 1930's instilled in him a remarkable sensitivity to human suffering, and led him to put his great analytical mind at the service of his country and of mankind. Professor Tinbergen revolutionized economic methodology by adopting a rigorous quantitative approach to modern economics. He is one of the founders of Econometrics, and the architect of the now famous center of learning in Rotterdam.
After he received his Doctor's degree in Physics and Mathematics from the ancient University of Leyden in 1929, Jan Tinbergen joined the Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics where he specialized in Business Cycles research. Since 1933, he has held the chair of the Netherlands School of Economics in Rotterdam, specializing in Development Programming and Mathematical Economics. Between 1930 and 1938, he served as an economic advisor to the secretariat of the League of Nations in Geneva and more recently he has been a highly effective advisor to the governments of many developing countries. At the end of World War II, Professor Tinbergen saw his favourite project established the Central Planning Bureau in the Netherlands was most effective during the cru¬cial postwar reconstruction period.
A member of the Dutch Social Economic Council, and of the Royal Academy of Sciences, he is Chairman of the Dutch National Advisory Council for Aid to Developing Countries, and President of the United Nations Institute for Scientific Research of Social Development in Geneva. Among many honours he is the recipient of the Erasmus Prize for 1967. His major contributions to economic literature are too numerous to be cited here. Mr. Chancellor, nothing can better reflect the unique role and philosophy of Professor Tinbergen, than his own description of an ideal economist
"Social responsibility requires a certain amount of the wisdom that comes from sympathizing with and understanding the circumstances and desires of the people whose interests have to be considered. The economist able to identify himself with the human relationship in the problems confronting him will best fulfill his social responsibility.
If social awareness can be ingrained into his outlook on life, social responsibility will become second nature to him. The ideal economist as I have described him here is perhaps the miracle worker so in demand in this world of ours".
Sir, I present to you now, Jan Tinbergen, on behalf of the University Council and by authority of the Board of Governors, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.