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© 2016, The Columbia University Press.

Vilfredo Pareto: Selected full-text books and articles

An Introduction to Pareto: His Sociology By George C. Homans; Charles P. Curtis Jr Alfred A. Knopf, 1934
Main Currents in Sociological Thought: Durkheim, Pareto, Weber By Raymond Aron; Helen Weaver; Richard Howard Basic Books, vol.2, 1967
Librarian’s tip: "Vilfredo Pareto" begins on p. 101
Methods in Social Science: A Case Book By Stuart A. Rice University of Chicago Press, 1931
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "The Sociological Methods of Vilfredo Pareto"
Class, Conflict, and Mobility: Theories and Studies of Class Structure By 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 By 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 By Lawrence J. Henderson Harvard University Press, 1935
The Rulers By Renzo Sereno Praeger, 1962
Librarian’s tip: "The Elites: Pareto" begins on p. 40
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