The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Torrens, Robert (1780–1864)

  • B. A. Corry
Reference work entry


Torrens, if not in the top rank of the classical economists, or in the class for example of Ricardo, Senior or John Stuart Mill, certainly was of the second rank and the equal of, or even above, James Mill or McCulloch in terms of originality, theoretical reasoning and the range of economic topics that he considered. His work was almost completely neglected in the years after his death in 1864 and his re-emergence to his rightful place as an important member of the Classical School was initially due to Seligman in his famous article ‘On Some Neglected British Economists’ (1903) and later to the definitive study by Lionel Robbins (1958). In recent years Torrens has also come to the fore again because of the debates surrounding the Sraffa interpretation of Ricardo.


Absolute advantage Bank Charter Act (1844) Banking School Capital theory of value Colonization Comparative advantage Convertibility Corn-ratio theory of profits Currency School Invariable standard of value Labour theory of value Real bills doctrine Reciprocal tariffs Ricardo, D. Sraffa, P. Terms of trade Torrens, R. 

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  1. De Vivo, G. 1985. Robert Torrens and Ricardo’s ‘corn-ratio’ theory of profits. Cambridge Journal of Economics 9: 89–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Langer, G.F. 1982. Further evidence for Sraffa’s interpretation of Ricardo. Cambridge Journal of Economics 6: 397–400.Google Scholar
  3. Robbins, L.C. 1958. Robert Torrens and the evolution of classical economics. London: Macmillan & Co. (This book includes brief summaries of all of Torrens’s writings.)Google Scholar
  4. Seligman, E.R.A. 1903. On some neglected British economists. Economic Journal 13: 511–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. A. Corry
    • 1
  1. 1.