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The Neglect of Bastiat's School by English-Speaking Economists: A Puzzle Resolved

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  • Salerno Joseph T.

    (Pace University)

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    Abstract

    The French liberal school, the school of Frédéric Bastiat, thoroughly dominated economics in France for most of the nineteenth century. In addition, the school exercised a profound influence on the development of nineteenth-century economic theory outside France, particularly in countries such as Italy, Germany and Austria where its merits were recognized by eminent Continental marginalists including Böhm-Bawerk, Cassel, Wicksell and Pareto. In the United States, Great Britain and Australia, also, the school inspired a number of important economic theorists and movements such as William Stanley Jevons and the American catallactic tradition. Yet despite its significant international influence, the school has been almost completely neglected by Englishspeaking economists and doctrinal scholars after World War One. In this paper, I suggest that the resolution of this puzzle lies in a conjunction of peculiar institutional and doctrinal circumstances that accompanied the professionalization of economics in France, Great Britain and the United States.L’école libérale française, celle de Frédéric Bastiat, domina totalement la pensée économique en France pendant une majeure partie du dixneuvième siècle. De plus, l’école exerça une influence profonde sur le développement de la théorie économique à l’extérieur de la France, en particulier dans des pays tels que l’Allemagne et l’Autriche. Dans ces pays, les mérites de l’école furent reconnus par des marginalistes continentaux aussi éminents que Böhm-Bawerk, Cassel, Wicksell et Pareto. L’école inspira aussi un nombre important d’économistes et de mouvements aux Etats-Unis, en Angleterre et en Australie tels que William Stanley Jevons et la tradition catallactique américaine. Néanmoins, en dépit de cette influence internationale, l’école a été presque totalement négligée par les économistes de langue anglaise et par les penseurs doctrinaux après la première guerre mondiale. Dans cet article, l’auteur suggère que la solution à cette énigme se trouve dans la conjonction de circonstances institutionnelles et doctrinales particulières qui accompagna la professionnalisation de l’économie en France, en Grande- Bretagne et aux Etats-Unis.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

    Volume (Year): 11 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 1-45

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:11:y:2001:i:2:n:13

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