Walter Bagehot (băj´ət), 1826–77, English social scientist. After working in his father's banking firm, he edited (1860–77) the Economist (which had been founded by his father-in-law) and helped establish its high reputation as a financial journal. From these activities came his noted study of the English banking system, Lombard Street (1873). Bagehot's classic English Constitution (1864) distinguished between the effective institutions of government and those, like the House of Lords, that had entered decay. His other important books include Literary Studies (1879) and Economic Studies (1880). In Physics and Politics (1875) he made a pioneer analysis of the interrelationship between the natural and the social sciences. He believed that investments expanded or contracted according to the mood of the market. Bagehot was also a noted literary critic of his day.
See his collected works (10 vol., 1915); biography by W. Irvine (1939, repr. 1970); studies by A. Buchan (1960) and N. St. John-Stervas (1963).