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Manual of Political Economy

Vilfredo Pareto's Manual of Political Economy is a 'classic' study in the history of economic thought for many reasons, the most noteworthy of which include the setting of general equilibrium economics within a choice theoretic framework based on the opposition between tastes and obstacles; the definitive formulation of economic efficiency, including the surplus approach to collective welfare; the technically flawed but nonetheless insightful treatment of path dependence in consumer theory; and the introduction of non-competitive market analysis to the general equilibrium economics. In so doing, Pareto's general study of economic equilibrium not only substantially extended the contributions to economic theory made by Leon Walras, his predecessor in the Chair of Political Economy at the University of Lausanne, it did so in a manner that was often contrary to Walras's own thinking on the formalisation of economic theory. . This English language 'critical edition' of Pareto's Manual of Political Economy - a revised and extended translation of the 'Edizione critica' published in Italian in 2006 - is a very significant book for two main reasons. First, it is the only variorum translation of the Italian language Manuale di Economia Politica, originally published in 1906, and the subsequent French language Manuel d'Economie Politique, originally published in 1909. Second, it includes extensive contributions from the editors including annotations, to clarify particular points in Pareto's text; editors' notes, to critically reflect on major themes in Pareto's text and to draw attention to the historical influences that led to their development and their anticipation of, or influence on, subsequent ideas that emerged in economics; and notes to the 1909 mathematical appendix, to highlight the mix of insight and imperfection in Pareto's mathematical economics.
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About the Author

Aldo Montesano is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Bocconi University of Milan, Italy. From 1983 to 2008 he was editor of the International Review of Economics (formerly RISEC, Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Economiche e Commerciali). He is fellow of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and of Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Scienze e Lettere. He was President of the Associazione Italiana per la Storia dell'Economia Politica (Storep) from 2006 to 2009. He has published numerous articles mainly on microeconomics, decision theory, and the history of economic thought and methodology. Alberto Zanni, now retired, was formally Associate Professor at the Universita degli Studi di Firenze. He is a graduate from the European University Centre at Nancy Universite (France), where he was subsequently employed as a translator and researcher. After his appointment to the Universita degli Studi di Firenze, Dr Zanni's scholarship largely focused on the history of economic thought. He has written numerous articles for Quaderni di Storia dell'Economia, Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Economiche e Commerciali, Studi Economici and Storia del pensiero economico, as well as articles for the journal History of Economic Ideas. Luigino Bruni is associate professor of Political Economy at the University of Milan Bicocca. He received his Doctorate in the History of Economics and his PhD in Economics from the University of East Anglia. He is also adjunct professor of 'Ethics and Economics' at the Liverpool Hope University. His research covers different areas of economics and the social sciences, ranging from ethics and economics, history of economic thought, methodology of economics, and sociality and happiness in economics. He co-editor of the International Review of Economics, and member of the board of the Review of Social Economy. John S. Chipman is Regents' Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, having retired in 2007. He obtained his Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University in 1951, was a postdoctoral fellow and guest of the Cowles Commission at the University of Chicago in 1950-51, and an Assistant Professor of Economics at Harvard University, 1951-55. He was also a Permanent Guest Professor at the University of Konstanz, June-July 1986-1991 and a Visiting Professor there June-July 1992-1997. He was elected a fellow of the Econometric Society (1957), of the American Statistical Association (1974), and a distinguished fellow of the American Economic Association (1999); he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (1993), of the International Statistical Institute (1994), and of the history of thought section of the Verein fur Socialpolitik, Berlin (2000). Michael McLure is Professor of Economics at the University of Western Australia and author of Pareto, Economics and Society (Rouledge, 2001) and The Paretian School and Italian Fiscal Sociology (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). From 2007 to 2011, he was the joint editor of the History of Economics Review and he jointly edited the 4 volume Vilfredo Pareto: Critical Assessments (Routledge, 1999). Professor McLure has published numerous articles on the history of Paretian and Pigouvian economics in scholarly journals.


The reading of this critical edition of the Manual of Political Economy will at last enable English-speaking readers to fully appreciate a work which is more frequently cited than well known. The above-mentioned references do justice neither to the originality of Pareto's work, nor to the editors' comments, which cover all the main topics dealt with by the author; we only hope they will encourage readers' interest in this fundamental work of modern economic theory.

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