Edgeworth, Francis Ysidro

Edgeworth, Francis Ysidro

(əsē`drō'), 1845–1926, British economist, grad. Trinity College, Dublin. He was professor of political economy at Oxford and first editor (1891–1926) of the Economist. His special contribution to economics was the application of mathematical measurements, as described in Mathematical Psychics (1881). He developed the indifference and contract curves, which are part of statistical method. Much of his writing was collected in Papers Relating to Political Economy (3 vol., 1925).
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Edgeworth, Francis Ysidro

 

Born Feb. 8, 1845, in Edgeworthstown, County Longford, Ireland; died Feb. 13,1926, in Oxford. British economist and statistician; representative of the mathematical school of bourgeois political economy.

Edgeworth graduated from Oxford University in 1869. He was a professor of political economy at King’s College in London from 1888 to 1891 and at Oxford from 1891 to 1922. He was president of the Royal Statistical Society from 1912 to 1914. Edgeworth’s theoretical views were greatly influenced by W. S. Jevons and A. Marshall. Edgeworth believed in the importance of the use of mathematics in economics. In his philosophical views he was an adherent of English utilitarianism. He was one of the first to introduce the concept of indifference curves into economics. He believed that the curves illustrated the selection by a consumer of the utility of different types of wealth. Edgeworth investigated the logical and philosophical foundations of probability and the possibility of measuring utility. He worked on a mathematical definition of economic equilibrium and on indexes. He emphasized the significance of functional analysis in investigating the relationships between individual elements of an economic system, rejecting the need to analyze cause-and-effect relationships between economic phenomena. Although Edgeworth published a significant number of works, he did not advance a unified and consistent theory. Individual positions developed by him were further developed by other Western economists.

WORKS

New and Old Methods of Ethics. Oxford, 1877
Mathematical Psychics: An Essay on the Application of Mathematics to the Moral Sciences. London, 1881.
Metretike: Or the Method of Measuring Probability and Utility. London [1888].
Papers Relating to Political Economy, vols. 1–3. London, 1925.

REFERENCES

Bliumin, I. G. Kritika burzhuaznoi politicheskoi ekonomii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1962.
Seligman, B. Osnovnye techeniia sovremennoi ekonomicheskoi mysli. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)
Keynes, J. M. Essays and Sketches in Biography. New York, 1956.

S. B. ZELENEV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.