Arthur Cecil Pigou

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Pigou, Arthur Cecil


Born Nov. 18, 1877, in Ryde, Isle of Wight; died Mar. 7, 1959, in Cambridge. English economist, representative of the Cambridge school of bourgeois political economy.

A student and follower of A. Marshall, Pigou was educated at Cambridge University, where he occupied the chair of political economy from 1908 until 1943. He was a member of the Committee on Currency and Foreign Exchange in 1918-19, the Royal Commission on Income Tax in 1919-20, and the Chamberlain Committee on Currency in 1924-25. The report of the last committee led to a short-lived restoration of the gold standard in Great Britain.

Pigou investigated a variety of economic issues, including tariff policy, cyclical fluctuations in industrial production, employment, and state finances. His Economics of Welfare (1920), which was first published in 1912 as Wealth and Welfare, already contains the seed of the later theory of the welfare state. Pigou’s elaboration of the concept of the economics of welfare helped make the necessity of state intervention in economic life a tenet of bourgeois economics. The bourgeois essence of Pigou’s economic views is especially evident in his approach to unemployment, which he considered a consequence of supposedly excessive wages for workers. Such an interpretation is theoretically unsound and in practice is directed against the interests of the working class.


Industrial Fluctuations. London, 1929.
The Economics of Stationary States. London, 1935.
Employment and Equilibrium. London, 1949.
A Study in Public Finance. London, 1949.


References in periodicals archive ?
Correcting for externalities, such as pollution, by taxing them (as first taught by Arthur Pigou and widely endorsed by mainstream economists) is therefore often inferior to allowing parties to work out trades that will maximize joint product when such trades are feasible.
After all, as has been portrayed in the seminal work of Arthur Pigou, The Economics of Welfare, governments are usually perceived as both the natural provider of public goods and a corrector of externalities.
Like Arthur Pigou and other classical British economists, Stern uses a near-zero discount rate in summing future costs and benefits.