Recent News

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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The Tobin Project held an event in Washington, D.C. at Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro's (D-CT) home to introduce New Perspectives on Regulation to over two dozen members of Congress. Chapter authors Edward Balleisen (Duke University, History), Michael Barr (Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, Dept.

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The Tobin Project is pleased to share that the Carnegie Corporation of New York has announced a new multi-year grant to support Tobin’s National Security initiative. 

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On July 23, a group of scholars met at the Tobin Project to discuss the intersections of economics and values and to begin forming a research agenda on the relationship between norms, markets, and political economy. Participants include John Geanakoplos (Yale University, Economics), David Grewal (Harvard Society of Fellows, Government), David Laibson (Harvard University, Economics), Sabeel Rahman (Harvard University, Ph.D.

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The Tobin Project held a briefing in Washington, D.C. for Senate staff, introducing New Perspectives on Regulation and the work and mission of the Tobin Project more generally. Participants included staff members from several Senators' offices as well as staffers from the Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

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New regulation shouldn't rely on old ideas. Since the 1960s, influential research on government failure helped to drive the movement for deregulation and privatization. Yet even as this branch of research was flourishing, very different ideas were sprouting in the social sciences with profound implications for our understanding of human behavior and the role of government. Some of these ideas, particularly from the field of behavioral economics, have begun to enter into discussions of regulatory purpose, design, and implementation.

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