The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Sismondi, Jean Charles Leonard Simonde de (1773–1842)

  • Thomas Sowell
Reference work entry


A number of concepts and theories that later became important in the history of economics first appeared in the writings of the Swiss economist J.C.L. Simonde de Sismondi. Whether or not these can be considered as his ‘contributions’ to economics is a question not unlike that as to whether a tree that falls in a deserted forest makes a sound. Sismondi developed the first aggregate equilibrium income theory and the first algebraic growth model. Yet both concepts had to be rediscovered and redeveloped by others before they entered the mainstream of economics, long after Sismondi’s time. The fact that Sismondi wrote in French may have been part of the reason why his work made so little impact at a time when the development of classical economics was largely the work of British economists. However, the fame achieved by his French contemporary, Jean-Baptiste Say, suggests that language differences alone cannot explain the neglect of Sismondi. His economic writings were neglected in France and Switzerland as well.


Aggregate demand and supply Aggregate equilibrium income Business cycles Concentration Equilibrium income Gluts Leisure Malthus, T. R. Mercier de la Rivière, P.-P. Money Say’s Law Sismondi, J. C. L. S. de Technological unemployment 

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  1. de Salis, R. 1932. Sismondi, 1775–1842. Paris: Libraire Ancienne Honoré Champion.Google Scholar
  2. Rappard, W.E. 1966. Economistes Genèvois du XIXesiècle. Geneva: Libraire Droz.Google Scholar
  3. Sowell, T. 1968. Sismondi: A neglected pioneer. History of Political Economy 1: 62–88.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Sowell
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