Recent News

As part of the Tobin Project’s National Security inquiry into "Power through its Prudent Use," scholars Deepak Malhotra (Harvard Business School) and Jeremi Suri (University of Texas-Austin, History) traveled to Washington, D.C. in July to share their research with members of the policymaking community.

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In the wake of the financial crisis, it became clear that existing models of the financial system were not only mistaken, but lacking real-world perspective and empirical foundation. Confronting these deficiencies, the Tobin Project supported a workshop in June, entitled "Behavioral and Institutional Research and Financial Regulation," to forge a better understanding of our financial system and develop innovative social-science based frameworks that illuminate its workings.

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Personal identity, long a concern of sociology, is now being incorporated into economic models thanks to the pioneering work presented in Identity Economics (Princeton University Press, 2010), a new volume by Nobel Prize-winning economist and longtime Tobin Project friend, George Akerlof (University of California-Berkeley, Economics), and co-author Rachel Kranton (Duke University, Economics). 

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Over the past three decades, the United States has become richer, but significantly more unequal. In 2007, the most affluent 1% of American families received more than 23% of total income for the first time since 1928. While the causes of this dramatic rise in inequality are widely researched, far less is known about its potential effects on our economy, our democracy, and our society. 

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In an April issue of The Economist, an article examines the effects of rising inequality on the reality of the "American dream," and references research from the upcoming Tobin Project conference on the economic, political, and social consequences of rising inequality. 

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In December of 2009, the Tobin Project hosted its second National Security conference on "America & the World: Power Through Its Prudent Use," exploring the controversial and timely issue of how to balance military force with the use of non-military tools to advance U.S. interests abroad. Participants included political scientists, diplomatic historians, and legal academics, as well as think tank researchers and policymakers from the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. 

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The Tobin Project held its second graduate student forum on November 20. The day-long discussion centered on innovative new directions in the study of political economy — in particular, working through the implications of the recent financial crisis.

These interdisciplinary graduate student forums have involved 24 students from the nation’s leading Ph.D. programs, providing unique opportunities to develop and share new research on topics that fall outside of the narrow parameters of current academic discourse.

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In November, the Tobin Project hosted Lord Robert Skidelsky, preeminent biographer of John Maynard Keynes, for a dialogue on the intersection of markets and morals. Participants included Sir Anthony Atkinson (Oxford University, Economics), David Laibson (Harvard University, Economics), and Michael Sandel (Harvard University, Government). The day before, Lord Skidelsky offered a public lecture, sponsored by the Tobin Project, Harvard University’s Center for History & Economics, and the Project on Justice, Welfare & Economics.

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As the financial crisis has shown, neither traditional market failure models nor public choice theory, by themselves, sufficiently inform or explain our current regulatory challenges, nor point us toward the best solutions. Regulatory studies, long neglected in an atmosphere focused on deregulatory work, are in critical need of new models and theories that can guide effective policymaking.

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Arising out of conversations begun at the April 2009 Government & Markets conferenceTom Baker (University of Pennsylvania Law School) and Annelise Riles (Cornell University, Law and Anthropology), held a Tobin-supported workshop at University of Pennsylva

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