The French Historical School

Seal of the French Republic


The establishment of chairs of economics in law faculties throughout France in the 1870s broke the monopoly held by the French Liberal School on the French establishment.  Many of the new appointees were of a quite different stripe.  Inspired by German Historicism (and modestly inspired by the rising discipline of sociology) this new breed of French academic economists pursued the historical and empirical method in their economics.  They were also quite politically involved, some of them leaning heavily towards socialist, syndicalist, cooperative and corporatist movements.  Their main organ was the Revue économique internationale.

However, one could argue that they were never really a self-conscious "school" as such and even its "historicist" credentials could be disputed.  Under the leadership of the eminent Émile Levasseur, the French Historical School did much to smother the growth of Neoclassical economics in France.  But a few, notably Charles Gide, Adolphe Landry and, more unabashedly, Etienne Antonelli, were extremely receptive and may even be regarded as proponents.  Its business cycle strand, notably the work of Albert Aftalion, was highly theoretical and influential on subsequent cycle theory.   


 

 

 HET

Resources French Historicism

  • Revue d'économie politique.
  • Etudes d'économie politique et de statistique by Michel Raymond Wolowski, 1848 [bk, av]
  • Traité d'économie sociale ou L'économie politique coordonnée au point de vue du progrès by M. Auguste Ott, 1851 [bk]
  • Les finances et la politique : de l'influence des institutions politiques et de la législation financière sur la fortune publique by Casimir Périer, 1863  [bk]
  • Cours analytique d'économie politique professé à la Faculté de droit by Alfred Jourdan, 1882 [1890 2nd ed, bnf]
  • Des rapports entre le droit et l'économie politique, ou Philosophie comparée du droit et de l'économie politique by Alfred Jourdan, 1885 [bk, bnf]
  • Les lois de la sociologie économique by Arthur Bochard, 1913 [bk, bnf]
  • L'évolution de l'économie nationale : introduction à la sociologie et à l'économie politique by Pierre Masslow, French 1914 trans [bnf]

 


All rights reserved, Gonçalo L. Fonseca
 

 

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