My Research on the Paris School

  • Part I: The Rise of “The Economists” and the Heyday of the Paris School in the First Half of the 19th Century
  • Part II: The Late 19th Century and the Decline of “The School of Liberty”
  • Part III: Texts and Editions

Some blog posts in which I which summarise my thoughts:

  1. “ An Introduction to the Paris School of Political Economy” (7 Aug. 2022) <>
  2. “The Guillaumin Network and the Paris School of Political Economy” (7 Aug. 2022) <>
  3. “A Publishing History of the Guillaumin Firm (1837-1910)” (5 Aug. 2022) <>
  4. “Some Thoughts on Editing, Translating, and Displaying online the Work of the French ‘Économistes’” (4 Aug. 2022) <>

Part I: The Rise of “The Economists” and the Heyday of the Paris School in the First Half of the 19th Century

David M. Hart, “The Paris School of Liberal Political Economy, 1803-1853” (2022)


The study of a large group like the “Paris School” of political economy over the course of the 19th century reveals some interesting issues for historians of economic thought. In addition to whatever theoretical innovations some of them may have produced (such as an early formulation of subjective value theory (Frédéric Bastiat), the important role of the entrepreneur (Gustave de Molinari), and free banking (Charles Coquelin)), there are also fascinating sociological issues such as how they organised themselves into professional associations (such as the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences (which had a Political Economy section) and the Société d’économie politique); how they networked socially with other elites via the various salons they organised in Paris; how they sought to apply their radical free market ideas to current political issues of the day though organisations such as the French Free Trade Association (organized by Bastiat) and the Friends of Peace organization (organized by Joseph Garnier); how they struggled to break into the state controlled university system which was hostile to free market ideas and sought to ghettoize the teaching of economics in the Law Faculties; and how they spread their ideas to a broader audience by means of the Guillaumin publishing firm which dominated economic publishing for over 70 years with the school’s main journal, the Journal des économistes and some 2,356 books, dictionaries, and encyclopedias which appeared between 1837-1910. Many members of the school also turned their hand to popularising economic ideas among the general public with varying degrees of success. Thus my paper will analyze the Paris School from the perspective of the history of ideas as well as the sociology of ideas in order to understand better the richness and complexity of this interesting group of economists.

Short published version (11 pp.):

Long version online (175 pp. or 46K words):

The Paris School Part II: The Late 19th Century and the Decline of “The School of Liberty”

David M. Hart, “Frédéric Passy and “The School of Liberty” (April, 1890)” (2017)

Summary: The Swiss Christian Society of Social Economy held a conference in the Great Hall of the University of Geneva between February and April 1890 to present to the public what the Society considered to be the leading representatives of the main schools of economic thought in the French-speaking world at the time. These were Claudio Jannet representing the School of State Socialism and Catholic Paternalism, Gaston Stiegler representing the Revolutionary Socialist School, Charles Gide representing the School of Socialist Solidarity, and Frédéric Passy representing the “School of Liberty”, otherwise known as free market economics. After the first three speakers had finished attacking every aspect of “heartless” free market economic thought Passy presented a vigorous defence of his school. My introduction puts this debate in its intellectual and political context and summarises the main criticisms levelled against the “school of liberty” and Passy’s defence. This is followed by a translation of Passy’s speech.

Published version: Journal of Markets and Morality, vol. 20, Number 2 (Fall 2017), pp. 383-412.

Part III: Texts and Editions

I have been collecting, editing, and putting online many texts of the Paris School on my personal website which is summarized here – “The Paris School of Political Economy” <>.

The collection includes my own e-Book editions of some of the key texts <>, which to date includes:

  1. Turgot, Réflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses (1766, 1770)
  2. Condorcet, Esquisse d’un tableau historique des progrès de l’esprit humain (1795)
  3. J.B. Say, Traité d’économie politique (1803) (1841 6th edition)
  4. Constant, Commentaire sur l’ouvrage de Filangieri (1822-24)
  5. (in progress): Coquelin, Du Crédit et des Banques (1848)
  6. Molinari, Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare (1849)
  7. Molinari, Cours d’économie politique (1863)
  8. Bastiat, “Introduction” toCobden et la Ligue (1845)
  9. Bastiat, Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (1850)
  10. Bastiat, La Loi(1850)
  11. (in progress): Bastiat, Harmonies économiques (2nd enlarged edition of 1851)
  12. Molinari, L’évolution économique du XIXe siècle (1880)
  13. Molinari, L’évolution politique et la Révolution (1884)