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 50: Knut Wicksell (1851–1926)

Hans-Michael Trautwein

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought


The Swedish economist Knut Wicksell is well known for his contributions to the marginal productivity theory of distribution and the theory of capital and interest, where he tried to create a unified framework from a synthesis of ideas of David Ricardo, Léon Walras and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk. Nowadays he is perhaps even better known for his pioneering works in monetary economics, where his approach paved the way for both Austrian and Keynesian economics. It has recently even seen a renaissance in dynamic stochastic general-equilibrium models. Moreover, Wicksell has made a strong contribution to the theory of public finance, giving impetus to the development of welfare economics and public choice. Both as “a pioneer and a follower-up”, Wicksell has thus earned the recognition of an “economist’s economist”, while he “was not only an ingenious scholar, but also a radical political thinker and untiring social reformer of great caliber” (Lindahl 1958: 9). Life Johan Gustav Knut Wicksell was born in Stockholm on 20 December 1851, the youngest of the six children of grocer Johan Wicksell and his wife Catharina. He lost his mother at the age of 6 and his father at 15. Yet family life with his father and sisters, who loved to discuss anything in the spirit of a debating club, made a lasting impression on him. In school, Wicksell was regarded as very talented, but also reprimanded for his “rebellious attitude”. During adolescence, he fell under the spell of the Lutheran Awakening movement that was widely popular...

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