Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Life Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz, of Polish descent, was born in St Petersburg on 7 August 1868. His father was a colonel and military instructor teaching artillery and mathematics. Ladislaus studied several subjects – law at the university of his home town, where he graduated in 1890, political economy and statistics first in Strasbourg from 1891 to 1892, then under the supervision of the eminent German statistician Wilhelm Lexis in Göttingen in 1892, followed by study visits to Vienna and Leipzig. He received his PhD in 1893 from Göttingen University. From 1895 to 1897 he lectured on statistics and actuarial science as a Privatdozent in Strasbourg. He returned to Russia, where he worked as a clerk and then as a teacher until 1901, when he became an extraordinary professor of statistics at the Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Berlin. In 1920 he was appointed to the chair of statistics and political economy. He stayed in Berlin until he passed away on 15 July 1931. Bortkiewicz received several honours, including membership of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Statistical Society, the American Statistical Association and the International Statistical Institute. It is perhaps interesting to note that when Walras’s health deteriorated and caused him to retire from his chair in Lausanne in 1892, he asked Bortkiewicz whether he would become his successor, reflecting an enormous esteem for the 24-year-old. It was only after Bortkiewicz had told him that he had turned to statistics and was not interested that Walras, upon Maffeo Pantaleoni’s...
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