The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics
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The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics

  • Elgar original reference

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus

This authoritative and comprehensive reference work introduces the reader to the major concepts and leading contributors in the field of law and economics. The Companion features accessible, informative and provocative entries on all the significant areas and breaks new ground by bringing together widely dispersed but theoretically congruent ideas for the first time.
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Chapter 39: Wilhelm Roscher (1817-94)

Erich Streissler


39 Wilhelm Roscher ( 1817-94) Erich Stre issler Life and work Wilhelm Roscher was born in 1817 in Hannover (in a German kingdom then still in personal monarchical union with Great Britain), the son of a highranking civil servant in the Ministry of Justice. After studying and early teaching at the University of Gottingen (doctorate 1838, university lecturer 1840) he became in 1848 professor of history and social sciences in Leipzig, a university distinguished by its law faculty. He served in this position up to his death in 1894. He is the main German-language textbook author of economics in the second half of the 19th century, the term ‘textbook’, however, by far understating the scientific importance of his comprehensive treatises. In its tripartite structure (theory - policy - public finance) roughly following the innovative framework of Karl Heinrich Rau, his predecessor as the dominant German economist a quarter of a century earlier, Roscher’s System of Economics treats theory in a first volume, called ‘Foundations of National Economics’ (1854), a book which ran to 26 editions up to 1922; secondly, agricultural economics (that is, economic policy, part I), first published in 1859, a book of 14 editions; thirdly, published only in 1881, commerce and industry (that is, economic policy, part 11), running to eight editions; fourth, public finance, published in 1886 (five editions); and, finally, as a fifth volume, ‘System of the Poor Laws and the Policy towards the Poor’, published in 1894 (three editions), a third instalment of the treatment of...

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