Drobisch’s Legacy to Price Statistics
This paper attempts to establish a greater awareness among researchers for the noteworthy contributions to price index theory made by Moritz Wilhelm Drobisch (1802-1896), a German mathematician and philosopher at the Universita¨ t Leipzig. Few economists and statisticians are aware of the fact that neither Étienne Laspeyres nor Hermann Paasche originally devised the well-known price indices that presently carry their names. Moritz Wilhelm Drobisch was the first to publish them in 1871 in a treatise and, shortly thereafter, in an abridged version that appeared in this very journal. He rejected them, however, because in his view they were inappropriate measures of inflation. Instead, he devised the unit value index, which he regarded as superior to all other price index formulas. This paper contains a description of his pioneering scientific achievements together with a synopsis of his personal and professional life. Its purpose is to give credit where credit is due, but more importantly, it attempts to recognize these seminal contributions in light of the factors that have tarnished them in the recorded annals of price index history. It attempts to put them into their proper perspective.
Volume (Year): 230 (2010)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
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