The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Minard, Charles Joseph (1781–1870)

  • R. F. Hébert
Reference work entry


A French engineer and economist, Charles Joseph Minard was widely recognized as the creator of graphical statistics, a means of figuratively portraying railway traffic routes on illustrated maps. Minard served as professor at the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) in the 1830s, where he taught the course on interior navigation, which included roads, rivers, canals and railways. In 1831 Minard wrote a lengthy monograph designed to establish a course in economics that he proposed for ENPC students. Although Minard viewed this work as a manual for practising engineers, J. B. Say immediately recognized the manuscript as a systematic treatise on the economics of public works, and urged Minard to publish it for the benefit of economists as well as engineers. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Minard shelved his manuscript instead – probably owing to the delay by ENPC in establishing an economics chair until 1847. In 1850, a year before his retirement from public service, Minard published his ‘Notions élémentaires d’économie politique appliqué aux travaux publics’ in the Annales des Ponts et Chaussées.


Cost–benefit analysis Demand theory Dupuit, A.-J. Income distribution Jevons, W. Minard, C. Navier, L. Public works Say, J.-B. Subjective measures of utility Substitution effect Value of time 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. F. Hébert
    • 1
  1. 1.