The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • G. Vaggi
Reference work entry


The French Physiocrats used the term avances to indicate the outlays which had to be used in the process of production in order to yield a return in the future. In the Essai sur la nature du commerce en général (1755) Cantillon had already used the term advances, but it becomes prominent only in Physiocratic literature. The way in which Quesnay used this term clearly indicates that he was referring to what is now called either capital or means of production. The advances can be regarded as a sum of money, but more frequently the Physiocrats referred to the commodities which had to be ‘advanced’ in order to carry on the process of production. The different types of advances depend upon the methods of production adopted, which establish the relationships between the inputs and the output in each sector of the economy.

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  • G. Vaggi
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