Francis Ysidro Edgeworth

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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.


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Francis Edgeworth's 1925 critique of Bertrand demonstrates that, except for the case of constant marginal cost, there are existence problems even in the homogeneous good case.
The first is the approach inspired by Francis Edgeworth, which treats the state, as Wagner says, "as an autonomous and choosing agent" (6).
After the chapter "treating citizens as equals," Scheve and Stasavage review classic theoretical writing on taxation--including Arthur Pigou, Francis Edgeworth, John Stuart Mill, and Edwin Seligman--in order to present the ability to pay, equal treatment, and compensatory principles.