Table of Contents

The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics, Second Edition

The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics, Second Edition

Elgar original reference

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus

This thoroughly updated and revised edition of a popular and authoritative reference work introduces the reader to the major concepts and leading contributors in the field of law and economics. The Companion features accessible, informative and provocative entries on all the significant issues, and breaks new ground by bringing together widely dispersed yet theoretically congruent ideas.

Chapter 45: Etienne Laspeyres (1834–1913)

Wolfgang Drechsler

Subjects: economics and finance, law and economics, law - academic, law and economics


Wolfgang Drechsler Introduction (Ernst Louis) Etienne Laspeyres was Professor ordinarius of Economics and Statistics or ‘State Sciences’ and cameralistics in Basle, Riga, Dorpat, Karlsruhe and, finally, for 26 years in Gießen. Laspeyres, who held doctorates both in law and in economics, was the scion of a Huguenot family of originally Portuguese descent, which had settled in Berlin in the seventeenth century, which has confused pronunciation of his name to this day (see Rinne 1981, p. 196). He himself (probably) pronounced it as if it were German, which comes close to the Portuguese sound ‘Lass-pay-ress’ (see Meyers 1905, p. 209). Statistics Laspeyres is mainly known today for the index number formula for determining the price increase, which he developed in 1871 and which, usually combined with Paasche’s, is still in use all over the world (Laspeyres, 1871; the best short summary in Rinne 1983, p. 661; more extensively 1981, pp. 206– 209; especially accessible, 1984, pp. 56–61). Other than that, he may count as a father of business administration as an academic-professional discipline in Germany (see Rinne 1983, p. 660; 1981, p. 200), and as one of the main unifiers of economics and statistics by ‘developing ideas which are today by and large nationally and internationally reality: quantification and operationalization of economics; expansion of official statistics; cooperation of official statistics and economic research; and integration of the economist and the statistician in one person’ (Rinne 1983, p. 660; see Laspeyres 1875, pp. 10, 17–18)...

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