Economics at your fingertips  

Adolphe Quetelet, the average man and the development of economic methodology

Bert Mosselmans

The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2005, vol. 12, issue 4, 565-582

Abstract: Quetelet's contribution to statistics has received adequate attention in Stigler (1986, 1999) and Porter's (1986) seminal works on the history of that scientific discipline. 24 Our contribution investigates Quetelet's influence on economic methodology. Other scholars have already investigated his influence on econometrics and empirical economics (Morgan 1990, Stigler 1999), but we argue that his influence on theoretical economics should be considered significant as well. We devote attention to Quetelet's concept of the 'average man'. For this purpose we briefly summarize Quetelet's methodology and examine the evolution of his ideas as expressed in his published works. We then investigate his influence on Jevons's 'calculus of pleasures and pains' and on the statistical investigations of the German historical school. We argue that the history of statistics, and especially Quetelet's contribution, should not be neglected by historians of economic thought as it provides important insights into the development of economic methodology.

Keywords: Quetelet; Jevons; Wagner; average; representative individuals (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
References: View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

Access Statistics for this article

The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought is currently edited by José Luís Cardoso

More articles in The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought from Taylor & Francis Journals
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Chris Longhurst ().

Page updated 2018-04-07
Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:12:y:2005:i:4:p:565-582