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 69: Arthur Cecil Pigou (1877–1959)

Hansjörg Klausinger

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought


Arthur Cecil Pigou, Marshall’s successor in the chair of Political Economy and the executor of the Marshallian heritage, may with good reason be regarded as the paradigm of an “old”, pre-Keynesian Cambridge economist. It is this Marshallian point of departure from which he progressed into new spheres of analysis, some of which still play an important role in present-day economics. Pigou was born in 1877 on the Isle of Wight, he died in 1959 in Cambridge. Personally, he has been characterized as eccentric and shy, especially towards women. After winning a scholarship to King’s his scientific career began as a lecturer at Cambridge University on general economic topics in 1904. In 1908 he was appointed as Marshall’s successor at the age of just 30 and against such an established contender as Herbert Foxwell. His work on industrial and labour economics turned into Wealth and Welfare (1912), the first edition of a work the themes of which determined the direction of Pigou’s research for the rest of his life. In this sense, not only The Economics of Welfare (1920) but also Industrial Fluctuations (1927a) and The Theory of Unemployment (1933) with their focus respectively on the business cycle and the labour market should be considered as elaborations and extensions of the concepts laid down in his welfare economics. Yet in the late 1920s his intellectual capacity and the energy to put it to full use slowly faded away, owing to ill health, disillusionment stemming from the horrible experiences of war – which...

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