Table of Contents

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume I contains original biographical profiles of many of the most important and influential economists from the seventeenth century to the present day. These inform the reader about their lives, works and impact on the further development of the discipline. The emphasis is on their lasting contributions to our understanding of the complex system known as the economy. The entries also shed light on the means and ways in which the functioning of this system can be improved and its dysfunction reduced. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.

Chapter 41: Gustav Friedrich von Schmoller (1838–1917)

Johannes Glaeser

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought


Gustav Friedrich von Schmoller was the leading economist of Imperial Germany at the turn of the twentieth century. He was the most important representative of the Younger Historical School, also called the “historical-ethical school”, which dominated German economics until the outbreak of World War I. As one of the founders and long-time chairman of the Verein für Socialpolitik, the most important association of economists in Germany until today, he had a strong influence on social and economic politics in Imperial Germany. Because of his aim to improve the situation of the working class by means of moderate social reforms and education, he and other members of the Verein, such as Lujo Brentano and Adolph Wagner, were often ridiculed as “socialists of the chair” (Oppenheim 1872). His political ideas even influenced Bismarck’s social legislation, and today he is considered as one of the pioneers of the German welfare state. Schmoller also had a strong influence on the Prussian education politics and used his relations to Friedrich Althoff (1839–1908), who was in charge of the Prussian university system at the Ministry of Education in Berlin, to control the appointment of important academic positions in Prussia. Many German economists after World War I, who tried to catch up with the international theoretical development in economics and favoured an economic science free of value-judgments, considered the Younger Historical School an aberration, which cut the ties to classical economics and delayed progress in German economics for half a century. Historicism was considered as...

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