Vilfredo Pareto

Vilfredo Pareto (vēlfrĕ´dō pärĕ´tō), 1848–1923, Italian economist and sociologist, b. Paris, of an exiled noble family that returned to Italy in 1858. He studied mathematics and engineering in Turin and worked as an engineer for many years, meanwhile becoming increasingly interested in social and economic problems. His economic writings won him (1893) a professorship of political economy at the Univ. of Lausanne. His notable contribution in applying mathematics to economic theory is found especially in Cours d'économie politique (1896–97). In his sociological studies he sought to differentiate the rational and nonrational factors in social action. He used that concept as the basis for his theory of the cyclical development and fall of governing elite groups. One of the originators of welfare economics, he defined total welfare as an improvement in a person's condition that was not achieved at any other person's expense. His chief work in sociology, Trattato di sociologia generale (1916), has been translated as Mind and Society (4 vol., 1935).

See G. C. Homans and C. P. Curtis, Jr., An Introduction to Pareto: His Sociology (1934, repr. 1970); study by F. Borkenau (1936); J. H. Meisel, ed., Pareto and Mosca (1965); R. Cirillo, The Economics of Vilfredo Pareto (1979); J. Freund, Pareto (tr. 1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

An Introduction to Pareto: His Sociology
George C. Homans; Charles P. Curtis Jr.
Alfred A. Knopf, 1934
Main Currents in Sociological Thought: Durkheim, Pareto, Weber
Raymond Aron; Richard Howard; Helen Weaver.
Basic Books, vol.2, 1967
Librarian’s tip: "Vilfredo Pareto" begins on p. 101
Methods in Social Science: A Case Book
Stuart A. Rice.
University of Chicago Press, 1931
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "The Sociological Methods of Vilfredo Pareto"
The Development of Sociology
Floyd Nelson House.
McGraw-Hill, 1936
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XXXVII "The Logico-Experimental Sociology of Pareto"
Class, Conflict, and Mobility: Theories and Studies of Class Structure
Joseph Lopreato; Lawrence E. Hazelrigg.
Chandler Publishing, 1972
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Vilfredo Pareto: Classes, Conflict, and Elite Circulation"
The Development of Economic Thought: Great Economists in Perspective
Henry William Spiegel.
John Wiley & Sons, 1952
Librarian’s tip: "Demaria on Pareto" begins on p. 628
Pareto's General Sociology: A Physiologist's Interpretation
Lawrence J. Henderson.
Harvard University Press, 1935
The Rulers
Renzo Sereno.
Praeger, 1962
Librarian’s tip: "The Elites: Pareto" begins on p. 40
Pareto, Economics and Society: The Mechanical Analogy
Michael McLure.
Routledge, 2001
Pareto's Methodological Approach to Economics: A Study in the History of Some Scientific Aspects of Economic Thought
Vincent J. Tarascio.
University of North Carolina Press, 1968
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