Villem Tamm (10.02.1942 – 31.08.2011). Majandusküberneetikute Õpetaja ja sõber. Mentor und Freund der Wirtschaftskybernetiker


  • Juta Sikk
  • Kaia Philips



Villem Tamm, who was called also as Tamme Villu or simply Villu, was born on 10th of February 1942 in Viljandi county Kabala. He studied seven years in Villavere school and then in high school in Viljandi. He graduated Tartu State University as „economic cybernetics” (mathematical economists) in 1969. His course mates considered him as a capable and talented person and predicted him successful and fast career as a lecturer and scientist. Villu worked at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu, almost 40 years. He started as assistant and continued as senior lecturer, associate professor in the Chair of Economic Cybernetics and Statistics (during the years 1991-1992 he was the head of this chair). During the years 1993-1996 he was professor of statistics and also the head of the Institute of Informatics and Economic Modelling. In the following years he worked as associate professor of statistics and retired in 2007. The new specialisation in the soviet economic education with the name “economic cybernetics” was opened at the Tartu State University in 1967 and there was an urgent need for academic staff who could teach the subjects of specialisation. Villem Tamm was assigned to teach basic principles of “economic cybernetics” and mathematical and statistical methods. He was one of the main lecturers who were teaching the specialisation subjects of “economic cybernetics” and also one of the main supervisors of students’ research papers and Diploma Thesis. He has remarkable contribution in preparation of almost 450 students, who have graduated the specialisation of “economic cybernetics”. In essence he is one of the founders of the new direction in education of economists – “economic cybernetics” - in Estonia. During his career he was teaching different statistical and mathematical planning courses in Estonian and in Russian for stationary students and for Open University students. For those students, who specialised to economic modelling, Villu was teaching subjects like principles of economics prognosis, input-output tables, Leontief’s economic equilibrium models, system analysis in economics, etc. Lot of students from Pärnu and Narva Collage, private universities of Audentes and Veritas can consider him also as their lecturer. Students evaluated him highly as a lecturer, as he was concrete in his taught subjects, he was thought-provoking and the personality to his lectures added his smugly humour. He was innovative and quickly adopted new technics and methods to modernise the teaching process. For example in 1980 he made dozens of dispositive about statistics, prepared punched card test for controlling students’ knowledge. In 2003 together with his colleague he designed a web-based course “Statistics”, which get the first price in the faculty’s competition. In total Villem Tamm has published nine textbooks and voluminous methodological materials for six courses. The way to the candidate (Ph.D) degree was not so quick. He continued his post-graduate studies in 1977 and defended Ph.D thesis (candidate in economics) in 1985. His main research areas have been very diverse: starting from the studies devoted to efficiency and effective use of labour resources, regularity of working processes up to problems and misunderstandings of statistical information. During several decades he was doing research in the field of input-output tables. From his personality Villem Tamm had good leadership abilities and as a head of different structural units he was tolerant, steady and fair leader. He had desire to motivate and direct both students and his colleagues; at the same time being dispassionate in communication and dignified in his behaviour. He was helpful and mindful of others; he had skills to solve complicated situations humanly and peacefully. During his working career he had also to fulfil different administrative obligations. He was 15 years supervisor and leader for different courses, curator of cooperation agreement between economic cybernetics from Vilnius, Latvia and Tartu Universities, member of teaching methodology commission, member of faculty’s council, etc. He was one of the founders of Estonian Statistical Society, alumni society “Hermes”, lecturer of association “Teadus” (“Science”), etc. He was participating in conducting population censuses, where he could implement his statistical knowledge and organiser’s abilities. Since the independence of Estonia he was several times leading the local election commissions during the parliament and local elections. Even if sometimes others could not see active engagement to these named and also to lot of others not mentioned activities, everything was functioning and was done at high quality.


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How to Cite

Sikk, J., & Philips, K. (2014). Villem Tamm (10.02.1942 – 31.08.2011). Majandusküberneetikute Õpetaja ja sõber. Mentor und Freund der Wirtschaftskybernetiker. Estonian Discussions on Economic Policy, 22(1).



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