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How Adam Smith found inspiration in French texts on pin making in the Eighteenth century


  • Jean-Louis Peaucelle

    () (University of Reunion Island, France)

  • Cameron Guthrie

    () (University of Toulouse-Toulouse Business School, France)


Adam Smith found inspiration in French texts on pin making to illustrate his theory of the division of labour. He used secondary sources that, we argue influenced his understanding of the strong division of labour and opportunities for productivity improvements in the pin-making industry. The original and secondary texts are examined here to understand how Smith interpreted them to develop his theory. Additional archival sources describing French pin making in the eighteenth century are also studied and are shown to partially contradict Smith’s theory of the division of labour.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Louis Peaucelle & Cameron Guthrie, 2011. "How Adam Smith found inspiration in French texts on pin making in the Eighteenth century," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 19(3), pages 41-68.
  • Handle: RePEc:hid:journl:v:19:y:2011:3:3:p:41-68

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