Scholars and policymakers comment on the Tobin Project model

The Tobin Project model seeks to engage a network of top scholars and policymakers around questions with great potential to improve society and disseminate compelling ideas that can reshape academic research, public policy, and public discourse. A number of scholars and policymakers have commented on the value of this unique model:

Tino and other scholar authors of the Preventing Capture volume meet to review their chapters.

“Unlike think-tanks focused on synthesizing existing knowledge, the Tobin Project brings people together in order to address policy problems through rigorous research and to shape the agenda for future scholarship. [At a recent meeting] the conversation was both analytically rigorous yet intensely focused on existing challenges. There was a sense of shared purpose, reflecting the Tobin Project’s defining characteristic of passion for making the world a better place alongside intellectual honesty and rigor.”

– Mariano-Florentino Cuèllar, Associate Justice, California Supreme Court; former Professor of Law and Deane F. Johnson Faculty Scholar, Stanford Law School; former Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy (2009-2010)

Annelise Riles speaks with scholars and policymakers at the 2009 Government & Markets conference.

“Given that life as an academic unfortunately does not always involve talking about truly novel ideas with truly brilliant people, it was reinvigorating to realize that there could be a community out there, one organized not around disciplines and disciplinary debates per se but around a real curiosity about how we might reimagine the current political and economic moment, and a recognition that others were pushing as hard, in their own respective fields or projects, as I was pushing in my own. It was thrilling.”

 Annelise Riles, Jack G. Clarke ‘52 Professor of Far East Legal Studies, Cornell Law School 

Arthur Segel, David Moss, and Michael Sandel at an Institutions of Democracy meeting.

“At a time of partisan gridlock, the Tobin Project is an oasis of big thinking aimed at the common good.” 

 Michael Sandel, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, Harvard University

Susan Webb Yackee, Deputy Secretary David Hayes, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse at a roundtable discussion on Preventing Capture.

“The [Tobin Project] meeting with Senator Whitehouse and his staff was incredibly helpful to my research and thinking; the back-and-forth exchange that I had with the Senator led directly to a current article I am writing. As a scholar of regulatory policymaking, it can be frustrating, at times, to feel disconnected from the political process. These types of meetings – between high-level practitioners and scholars – allow for academic knowledge and insights to be transmitted into the policymaking process, and vice versa.”

 Susan Webb Yackee, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Christopher Schroeder (right) at a 2011 roundtable discussion on Preventing Capture.

"The premise of the Tobin project is extremely important. We need to encourage the cross fertilization of academics and policymakers in order to stimulate better informed and more relevant research, and also hopefully to improve policymaking at the same time."

- Former Asst. Attorney General Christopher Schroeder, Office of Legal Policy, Department of Justice

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Tobin Project founder David Moss at a Tobin Project meeting in 2007.

“The project is named for Jim Tobin because he understood something both simple and powerful: that American universities can be an engine of progress in our democracy. His work proved that American liberalism thrived on the vital relationship between academia and elected officials. At a time when we face a shortage of ideas and so many challenges, the Tobin Project shows how the values that have defined us can guide us as Americans into the 21st Century.”  

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, United States House of Representatives (D-CT)

Congressman Robert Simmons sits on a panel at Tobin's 2010 National Security conference.

“Tobin [is] a wonderful resource of people. I very much like the idea of mixing scholars with policymakers because it keeps both parties productively engaged with the issues at hand. It helps policymakers to think deeply about the consequences of their choices and helps academics to focus on decisions and solutions in very practical terms.” 

Congressman Robert Simmons, United States House of Representatives, 2001-2007 (R-CT); Retired Colonel, USAR