The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Pierson, Nicolaas Gerard (1839–1909)

  • Arnold Heertje
Reference work entry


Born in Amsterdam, 7 February 1839; died in Heemstede, 24 December 1909. A Dutch economist of international reputation, Pierson dominated economics in the Netherlands during the second half of the 19th century. He started his career in the commercial and banking world of Amsterdam. He became President of the Dutch Central Bank, Minister of Finance and Prime Minister. As an economist he was a self-educated man, just like David Ricardo, but he was nevertheless invited to become Professor of Economics at the University of Amsterdam. He taught in the Faculty of Law from 1877 onwards until 1885. Broadly speaking, he advocated the main ideas of the Austrian school of thought in economic theory, although he maintained a material concept of welfare and production. On money, banking and taxation he was a well-known authority, who stimulated Cohen Stuart to write his famous dissertation on the application of utility theory to taxation. His knowledge of the history of ideas was outstanding and he was one of the first to recognize the significance of the Italian authors of the 17th and 18th centuries.


Austrian economics Cohen Stuart, A. J. Edgeworth, F. Y. Education Pierson, N. G. Taxation, pure theory of 

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  1. Edgeworth, F.Y. 1925. Papers relating to political economy. London: Macmillan, vol. 1, 351–356; vol. 3, 77–85.Google Scholar
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  3. Hennipman, P. 1964. Handwörterbuch der Sozialwissenschaften. Tübingen: Mohr.Google Scholar
  4. Van Maarseveen, J.G.S.J. 1981. Nicolaas Gerard Pierson. Rotterdam: Erasmus University.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnold Heertje
    • 1
  1. 1.