About the Tobin Center

The Tobin Center reduces the time from research to impact. By enabling more policy-relevant research at Yale and bringing it to the policy arena, we seek to strengthen families, communities and the nation.

Photo by Michael Marsland
Photo by Michael Marsland

The Tobin Center will enhance Yale’s vital role in informing data-driven discussions of public policy.. supporting Yale’s emphasis on the importance of using empirical approaches in the social sciences to address the greatest challenges of today. - Yale President Peter Salovey

Society faces both new and enduring challenges.  Recent advances in economics, data and analytics present exciting and untapped opportunities to help us better understand and address these challenges, helping us move the needle on critical issues from health, education and economic mobility to climate change and infrastructure.

In our inaugural phase, the Tobin Center is developing new ways to unlock these research opportunities at Yale.  In tandem, we will advance the resulting insights and innovations for impact by bringing them to policy arena.

The Tobin Center will serve as a platform for national, non-partisan policy impact at Yale.  Working across disciplines and policy issue areas, and through meaningful policy partnerships, we will advance a fact-based policy debate in America.

By enabling more policy-relevant and data-intensive scholarship at Yale and bringing it to the policy arena, we seek to identify and scale better, more effective policy solutions that strengthen families, communities and the nation. 

In the social sciences, we are emphasizing the importance of using empirical approaches and data-driven research to tackle global issues, such as crime, extremism, health care, inequality, and migration. Right now, in the information age, social scientists have unprecedented access to data. By developing tools to analyze the data available, we can inform public policy issues by providing facts, not intuitions or anecdotes.

-Yale President Peter Salovey

The United States is home to the world’s greatest universities, yet this unique American asset is an underutilized resource in answering pressing policy questions.  New availability of large data sets and advances in analytics make it more promising than ever to deploy the unique talents of economists and social scientists to surface insights that can improve policy.  Driven by this opportunity, the Tobin Center will work with partners across academia, policy and journalism to advance policies that measurably improve results for people and the country.

Named for the late James Tobin, iconic faculty member and Nobel laureate, the center advances rigorous, evidence-based research intended to define and inform policy debate.

With an emphasis on relevant, non-partisan and practical solutions, the center funds and supports data-driven, policy-relevant research.  A new enterprise at Yale, the Tobin Center is prototyping new ways to mobilize and support economists and other social scientists towards pressing domestic policy needs. 

We also seek to remove common barriers to policy-relevant work, assisting with acquisition of critical data and provision of analytic research support, research assistance and junior scholars.

In addition, the Center will advance research-based policy concepts in the public debate and the policy arena.  We engage with policymakers and the media, offering both strategic counsel and direct support on core projects.

In its inaugural phase, and before the opening of its new building at Yale, the Tobin Center emphasizes critical policy priorities where research-driven policy can have near-term impact, these include: Health Economics, Mobility and Opportunity, Early Childhood, Education, Digital Markets, and Evidence-Based Policy.

James Tobin

James Tobin, winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in economics, joined the faculty of the Yale Department of Economics in 1950 and was appointed Sterling Professor of Economics in 1957, remaining at Yale until his retirement in 1988 and death in 2002. During this career spanning over 50 years, Tobin established himself as a leader in the field through many outstanding contributions to economic theory. His fundamental concern, however, was how economic policies affected people’s lives. The Tobin Center for Economic Policy at Yale honors its namesake’s legacy by casting empirical light onto contemporary issues in domestic economic policy.