Studies in the History of French Political Economy: From Bodin to Walras

By Gilbert Faccarello | Go to book overview

Notes
1
See also Ekelund and Hébert (1973).
2
On Isnard’s contribution to economics and on his undoubted influence on Walras see Hébert (1987), Ingrao and Israel (1987, pp. 56-59) and Klotz (1994).
3
See, for example, Drèze (1964, p. 4), according to whom: ‘During World War II two graduates from the Ecole Polytechnique, Maurice Allais and Pierre Massé, renewed a long tradition of contributions to mathematical economics started by Cournot and the engineer Dupuit a hundred years before, and more recently maintained by such well-known econometricians as F. Divisia and R. Roy. ’ See also Jean-Michel Glachant (1989a).
4
By which we refer to that economic theory which argues for the optimality of the monopolistic price discrimination.
5
E. Lamé Fleury’s obituary (1867) probably attributed the label ‘engineer-economist’ to Dupuit for the first time.
6
F. Etner (1987) is the authoritative source for the work of the civil engineers and their contributions to economics. See also Smith (1990) and Mosca (1992a).
7
Political economy was taught as a separate subject in the École des Ponts et Chaussées in 1847, while Dupuit had already left the school twenty years before; however, long before 1847 there is evidence of the French engineer’s great interest in economic questions. See Etner (1986) for the teaching of political economy or related subjects in the schools for engineers.
8
For this context see Ingrao and Israel (1987) and Ménard (1978).
9
A thorough treatment of the role played by the Assemblées des Ponts et Chaussées for the formation of a ‘proto-professional’ occupation is to be found in Gillispie (1980, Ch. VII).
10
There are numerous biographies of engineers in Tarbé de Saint-Hardouin (1884), and in the special number of Annales des ponts et chaussées published in 1981, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the magazine.
11
Tarbé de Saint-Hardouin (1884) writes that Chaumot de la Millière ‘has worthily kept up the tradition of honouring, and dedicating himself to, the general interest’ (ibid., p. 13), that Darcy’s life can be summed up in the words ‘Love of science, devotion to the public good, and absolute disinterestedness’ (ibid., p. 226) that Billaudel was ‘a skilful engineer, always dedicated to the public good’ (ibid., p. 209), and, speaking of Legrand, acknowledges ‘his disinterestedness, his constant love of the public good and progress’ (ibid., p. 207); Smith (1990, p. 659) identifies their creed, their ideals, their reason for being in their promotion of the idea of ‘rational public administration in the general interest’, while Etner (1987) defines them as ‘veritable guarantors of the general interest’.
12
Smith (1990) correctly argues that in England a phenomenon of this kind could not have taken place, since without the centralised planning of the communications network so typical of France, English investors were only interested in the immediate or direct returns from new communications (that is, in revenue from tolls), while in France, where the national aspect was always held in consideration, they were also led to consider the indirect returns from public investment.
13
See the numerous dossiers in the Paris National Archives concerning public works (series F/14) and in particular, as an example of an ‘enquête d’utilité publique’, the proposal to straighten out the Route Royale no. 3 from Paris to Metz between mont Saint-Laurent and Épernay, known as the ‘côte Saint-Laurent’, in A. N. F/14/1569-
14
It is worth pointing out that Cournot’s Recherches were aimed precisely at the French engineers, as can be seen from the Preface: ‘But it is above all in France, thanks to a famous school, to a numerous class of people who, having carried out rigorous studies in the mathematical sciences, have addressed their research towards the

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