The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Baudeau, Nicolas (1730–c1792)

  • Peter Groenewegen
Reference work entry


Born at Amoise, Baudeau entered the church, becoming a canon and professor of theology at the Chancelade Abbey. He was subsequently called to Paris in the service of Archbishop de Beaumont. In 1765, Baudeau founded the periodical Ephémérides, becoming its first editor till late 1768 and again during its two subsequent revivals. Converted to Physiocracy by Mirabeau in 1768, he became one of its most active propagandists through the many articles, pamphlets and books he produced. He died insane in Paris circa 1792 (Coquelin and Guillaumin 1854, I, p. 148). Daire (1846, pp. 652–4) provides a bibliography of the economic writings and reprints his long introduction to economic philosophy (Baudeau 1771) and his explanations of the Tableau économique (Baudeau 1767–8), which Marx (1962, p. 324) found helpful for clarifying some of its more difficult points and which remains a most useful introduction to Physiocracy and the Tableau’s intricacies. Baudeau (1771) is noteworthy for its concise definition of monopoly as ‘everything which by force limits the numbers and competition of buyers and sellers’ (p. 327) and its direct attribution to Gournay of the phrase, laissez les faire (p. 323).


Baudeau, N. Free trade Gournay, Marquis de Hoarding Luxury Mirabeau, V. R., Marquis de Monopoly Net product Physiocracy Productive vs. unproductive expenditure Sumptuary laws Surplus 

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  1. Coquelin, Ch., and M. Guillaumin. 1854. Baudeau. In Dictionnaire de l’économie politique. Paris: Guillaumin.Google Scholar
  2. Daire, E. 1846. Notice sur la vie et les travaux de l’Abbé Baudeau. In Physiocrates, ed. E. Daire. Paris: Guillaumin.Google Scholar
  3. Dubois, A., ed. 1912. Nicolas Baudeau, Principes de la science morale et politique. Paris: Marcel Rivière.Google Scholar
  4. Marx, K.H. 1962. Theories of surplus value, Part I. Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House.Google Scholar
  5. Meek, R.L. 1962. The economics of physiocracy. London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Groenewegen
    • 1
  1. 1.