American economist, of Dutch origin, born in Graveland (Netherlands) on August 28, 1910 and died on February 26, 1985 in New Haven (Connecticut). Nobel Prize in economics in 1975, together with Leonid V. Kantoróvich, won the award for his contributions to econometrics and the theory of the optimal allocation of resources.
The son of a couple of teachers in school linked to the Protestant Church, began studies in 1927 at the University of Utrecht, in which studied mathematics and geometry, although their interest covering a wide spectrum running from physics to history. He went to the University of Leiden, where he obtained the doctorate in philosophy in 1936. Then he was appointed Professor at the Faculty of economy of Rotterdam (1936-38) instead of Jan Tinbergen, pioneer of the econometric methods that had exerted great influence in his training.
In 1938, he worked for the League of Nations in the construction of a model of economic cycles. At the be invaded Holland by the Germans in 1940, he moved with his family to United States, where he was technical statistics for the British Mission of the Merchant Navy in Washington; This office familiarized you with the mathematical models for the resolution of economic calculations. In 1944 he joined the Cowles Commission for economic research at the University of Chicago, and in 1948 replaced Jacob Marschak as head of the Agency. His studies at this stage focused on the development and improvement of a system of methods for the mathematical treatment of the economic information, referred to as econometric methods. Two years earlier it had obtained U.S. citizenship.
Between 1948 and 1955 he taught at the University of Chicago. In 1955 he moved with the members of the Cowles Commission to Yale University and was the director of this University between 1961 and 1967. Wrote Economic Growth at Maxima Rate and On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth, works that focused on the allocation of resources, and in 1957 published his famous Three Essays on the State of Economic Science ('three essays on the State of economic science'), on the methodology of the "analysis of activities". In 1968 he made a comparative study of economic systems at Stanford University, and in 1974 he directed a research project on the optimization of energy resources in time for the International Institute for systems analysis (I.I.A.S.A).
Member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the Econometric Society, in addition to the above works, wrote, among other, Statistical Inference in Dynamic Economic Models ('statistical inference in dynamic economic models', 1950); Studies in Econometric Method ('studies on the method of Econometrics', 1953) in collaboration with W. C. Hood; and Scientific Papers of T. C. Koopmans ('scientific works of T.C. Koopmans', 1970).