IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

'Our daily bread': Maurice Potron, from Catholicism to mathematical economics


  • Christian Bidard
  • Guido Erreygers
  • Wilfried Parys


Maurice Potron (1872-1942) is a French Jesuit and mathematician whose main source of inspiration in economics is the encyclical Rerum Novarum. With virtually no knowledge in economic theory, he wrote down a linear model of production in which he formalized the notions of just prices and just wages. As early as 1911, he used the Perron-Frobenius theorem to prove the existence of a positive solution and established a duality result between the quantity side and the price side of the model. He returned to economics in the 1930s, but in both periods he failed to make a lasting impression upon economists. JEL Classification Code: B3

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Bidard & Guido Erreygers & Wilfried Parys, 2009. "'Our daily bread': Maurice Potron, from Catholicism to mathematical economics," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 123-154.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:16:y:2009:i:1:p:123-154 DOI: 10.1080/09672560802707456

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1985. "The Expanding Domain of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(6), pages 53-68, December.
    2. repec:mes:jeciss:v:37:y:2003:i:1:p:85-97 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Armen A. Alchian, 1950. "Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 211-211.
    4. Philippe Fontaine, 2000. "Making use of the past: theorists and historians on the economics of altruism," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 407-422.
    5. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 1999. "Evolution and Institutions," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1481.
    6. Ronald H. Coase, 2000. "The new institutional economics," Chapters,in: Institutions, Contracts and Organizations, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
    8. Marciano, A. & Pelissier, M., 1999. "La theorie de l'evolution culturelle de Hayek a la lumiere de La Descendance de l'homme de Darwin," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 99c08, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
    9. Van R. Potter, 1962. "Bridge to the Future: The Concept of Human Progress," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-8.
    10. Tullock, Gordon, 1977. "Economics and Sociobiology: A Comment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 502-506, June.
    11. Redlich, Fritz, 1951. "Sanctions and Freedom of Enterprise," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 266-272, June.
    12. Marciano, Alain & Pelissier, Maud, 2000. "The Influence of Scottish Enlightenment on Darwin's Theory of Cultural Evolution," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 239-249, June.
    13. Caldwell, Bruce, 2001. "Hodgson on Hayek: A Critique," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(4), pages 539-553, July.
    14. Robert C. Bannister, Jr., 1973. "William Graham Sumner's Social Darwinism: A Reconsideration," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 89-109, Spring.
    15. Caldwell, Bruce, 2000. "The Emergence of Hayek's Ideas on Cultural Evolution," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 13(1), pages 5-22, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. PARYS, Wilfried, 2013. "All but one: How pioneers of linear economics overlooked Perron-Frobenius mathematics," Working Papers 2013030, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.

    More about this item


    Catholic doctrine; duality; Hawkins-Simon; linear model of production; Perron-Frobenius; Potron; social question;

    JEL classification:

    • B3 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:16:y:2009:i:1:p:123-154. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.