Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 48: Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923)
Fritz Wilfrid Pareto was born in Paris on 15 July 1848. His mother, Marie Méténier, was a French citizen and his father, the Marchese Raffaele Pareto, was an Italian supporter of fellow exile Giuseppe Mazzini, the activist leader of Giovine Italia who advocated the unification of Italy. It would be pure speculation to reflect on why a French woman and Italian man decided to christen their son with German given names, but he continued to use those names during his student life, writing “Fritz Wilfrid” Pareto on formal documents and “Wilfrid” on his letters. But from early adulthood he consistently Italianized his given names in most documents, including his published works, which refer to him as Vilfredo Pareto, although the passport issued to him by the Free State of Fiume is in the name of “Fedrigo Vilfredo Pareto”. The Pareto family moved to Italy in 1854, initially to Genoa (Busino 2002; Mornati 2015: 7). When living in Turin, “Vilfredo” progressively completed: his matriculation (“la licenza di maturità”) to qualify for university entry in 1864; the certificate in mathematics and physics at the University of Turin in 1867; and the diploma of “graduate engineer” at the University of Turin’s Scuola di Applicazione per Ingegneri in 1870. Between 1870 and 1890 he worked in Italy’s emerging ironworks industry, initially as an engineer at the Società Anonima delle Strade Ferrate (Railways Company Limited) in Florence between 1870 and 1873. He then took a senior engineering post with the Società dell’Industria del...