The Most Famous

ECONOMISTS from France

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This page contains a list of the greatest Economists. The pantheon dataset contains 315 Economists, 22 of which were born in France. This makes France the birth place of the 4th most number of Economists behind United Kingdom and Germany.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Economists of all time. This list of famous Economists is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Economists.

Photo of Vilfredo Pareto

1. Vilfredo Pareto (1848 - 1923)

With an HPI of 73.85, Vilfredo Pareto is the most famous Economist.  His biography has been translated into 64 different languages on wikipedia.

Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto (UK: pa-RAY-toh, -⁠EE-, US: pə-RAY-toh, Italian: [vilˈfreːdo paˈreːto], Ligurian: [paˈɾeːtu]; born Wilfried Fritz Pareto; 15 July 1848 – 19 August 1923) was an Italian civil engineer, sociologist, economist, political scientist, and philosopher. He made several important contributions to economics, particularly in the study of income distribution and in the analysis of individuals' choices. He was also responsible for popularising the use of the term "elite" in social analysis. He introduced the concept of Pareto efficiency and helped develop the field of microeconomics. He was also the first to discover that income follows a Pareto distribution, which is a power law probability distribution. The Pareto principle was named after him, and it was built on observations of his such as that 80% of the wealth in Italy belonged to about 20% of the population. He also contributed to the fields of sociology and mathematics, according to the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot and Richard L. Hudson: His legacy as an economist was profound. Partly because of him, the field evolved from a branch of moral philosophy as practised by Adam Smith into a data intensive field of scientific research and mathematical equations. His books look more like modern economics than most other texts of that day: tables of statistics from across the world and ages, rows of integral signs and equations, intricate charts and graphs.

Photo of François Quesnay

2. François Quesnay (1694 - 1774)

With an HPI of 72.55, François Quesnay is the 2nd most famous Economist.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

François Quesnay (French: [fʁɑ̃swa kɛnɛ]; 4 June 1694 – 16 December 1774) was a French economist and physician of the Physiocratic school. He is known for publishing the "Tableau économique" (Economic Table) in 1758, which provided the foundations of the ideas of the Physiocrats. This was perhaps the first work attempting to describe the workings of the economy in an analytical way, and as such can be viewed as one of the first important contributions to economic thought. His Le Despotisme de la Chine, written in 1767, describes Chinese politics and society, and his own political support for enlightened despotism.

Photo of Frédéric Passy

3. Frédéric Passy (1822 - 1912)

With an HPI of 70.52, Frédéric Passy is the 3rd most famous Economist.  His biography has been translated into 68 different languages.

Frédéric Passy (20 May 1822 – 12 June 1912) was a French economist and pacifist who was a founding member of several peace societies and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. He was also an author and politician, sitting in the Chamber of Deputies from 1881 until 1889. He was a joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 for his work in the European peace movement. Born in Paris to a prominent Catholic and Orléanist family, Passy was surrounded by military veterans and politicians. After training in law, he worked as an accountant and served in the National Guard. He soon left this position and began travelling around France giving lectures on economics. Following years of violent conflicts across Europe, Passy joined the peace movement in the 1850s, working with several notable activists and writers to develop journals, articles, and educational curricula. While sitting in the Chamber of Deputies, Passy developed the Inter-parliamentary Conference (later the Inter-Parliamentary Union) with British MP William Randal Cremer. Alongside this, he founded several peace societies: the Ligue Internationale et Permanente de la Paix, the Société Française des Amis de la Paix, and the Société Française pour l'Arbitrage entre Nations. Passy's work in the peace movement continued into his later years, and in 1901, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Red Cross founder, Henry Dunant. Passy died in 1912 after a long period of illness and incapacitation. Despite his economic works gaining little traction, his efforts in the peace movement resulted in him being recognised as the "dean of European peace activists".: 34  His son, Paul Passy, published a memoir of his life in 1927, and his works are still being republished and translated into English in the 21st Century.

Photo of Jean-Baptiste Say

4. Jean-Baptiste Say (1767 - 1832)

With an HPI of 70.07, Jean-Baptiste Say is the 4th most famous Economist.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Jean-Baptiste Say (French: [ʒɑ̃batist sɛ]; 5 January 1767 – 15 November 1832) was a liberal French economist and businessman who argued in favor of competition, free trade and lifting restraints on business. He is best known for Say's law—also known as the law of markets—which he popularized. Scholars disagree on the surprisingly subtle question of whether it was Say who first stated what is now called Say's law. Moreover, he was one of the first economists to study entrepreneurship and conceptualized entrepreneurs as organizers and leaders of the economy.

Photo of Anne Robert Jacques Turgot

5. Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1727 - 1781)

With an HPI of 67.95, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot is the 5th most famous Economist.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.

Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Baron de l'Aulne ( toor-GOH; French: [tyʁgo]; 10 May 1727 – 18 March 1781), commonly known as Turgot, was a French economist and statesman. Originally considered a physiocrat, he is today best remembered as an early advocate for economic liberalism. He is thought to be the first economist to have recognized the law of diminishing marginal returns in agriculture.

Photo of Léon Walras

6. Léon Walras (1834 - 1910)

With an HPI of 66.98, Léon Walras is the 6th most famous Economist.  His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.

Marie-Esprit-Léon Walras (French: [valʁas]; 16 December 1834 – 5 January 1910) was a French mathematical economist and Georgist. He formulated the marginal theory of value (independently of William Stanley Jevons and Carl Menger) and pioneered the development of general equilibrium theory. Walras is best known for his book Éléments d'économie politique pure, a work that has contributed greatly to the mathematization of economics through the concept of general equilibrium. The definition of the role of the entrepreneur found in it was also taken up and amplified by Joseph Schumpeter. For Walras, exchanges only take place after a Walrasian tâtonnement (French for "trial and error"), guided by the auctioneer, has made it possible to reach market equilibrium. It was the general equilibrium obtained from a single hypothesis, rarity, that led Joseph Schumpeter to consider him "the greatest of all economists". The notion of general equilibrium was very quickly adopted by major economists such as Vilfredo Pareto, Knut Wicksell and Gustav Cassel. John Hicks and Paul Samuelson used the Walrasian contribution in the elaboration of the neoclassical synthesis. For their part, Kenneth Arrow and Gérard Debreu, from the perspective of a logician and a mathematician, determined the conditions necessary for equilibrium.

Photo of Dominique Strauss-Kahn

7. Dominique Strauss-Kahn (1949 - )

With an HPI of 65.22, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is the 7th most famous Economist.  His biography has been translated into 57 different languages.

Dominique Gaston André Strauss-Kahn (French pronunciation: ​[dɔminik stʁos kan]; born 25 April 1949) is a French economist and politician who served as the tenth managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He is known as a figure in the French Socialist Party who attained notoriety due to his involvement in several sexual scandals. He is often referred to in the media, and by himself, by his initials DSK. Strauss-Kahn was appointed managing director of the IMF on 28 September 2007, with the backing of then–President of France Nicolas Sarkozy. He served in that capacity until his resignation on 18 May 2011, in the wake of an allegation that he had sexually assaulted a hotel maid. Other allegations followed, but he was acquitted. He was a professor of economics at Paris West University Nanterre La Défense and Sciences Po, and was Minister of Economy and Finance from 1997 to 1999, as part of Lionel Jospin's Plural Left government. He sought the nomination in the Socialist Party presidential primary of 2006, but was defeated by Ségolène Royal.

Photo of Frédéric Bastiat

8. Frédéric Bastiat (1801 - 1850)

With an HPI of 65.17, Frédéric Bastiat is the 8th most famous Economist.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Claude-Frédéric Bastiat (; French: [klod fʁedeʁik bastja]; 30 June 1801 – 24 December 1850) was a French economist, writer and a prominent member of the French Liberal School.A member of the French National Assembly, Bastiat developed the economic concept of opportunity cost and introduced the parable of the broken window. He was described as “the most brilliant economic journalist who ever lived” by economic theorist Joseph Schumpeter.As an advocate of classical economics and the economics of Adam Smith, his views favored a free market and influenced the Austrian School. He is best known for his book The Law where he argued that law must protect rights such as private property, not "plunder" others' property.

Photo of Maurice Allais

9. Maurice Allais (1911 - 2010)

With an HPI of 64.50, Maurice Allais is the 9th most famous Economist.  His biography has been translated into 58 different languages.

Maurice Félix Charles Allais (31 May 1911 – 9 October 2010) was a French physicist and economist, the 1988 winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences "for his pioneering contributions to the theory of markets and efficient utilization of resources", for Maurice Allais contribution, along with John Hicks (Value and Capital, 1939) and Paul Samuelson (The Foundations of Economic Analysis, 1947), to neoclassical synthesis. They formalize the self-regulation of markets, that Keynes refuted, while reiterating some of his ideas. Born in Paris, France, Allais attended the Lycée Lakanal, graduated from the École Polytechnique in Paris and studied at the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris. His academic and other posts have included being Professor of Economics at the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris (since 1944) and Director of its Economic Analysis Centre (since 1946). In 1949, he received the title of doctor-engineer from the University of Paris, Faculty of Science. He also held teaching positions at various institutions, including at the University of Paris X–Nanterre. His first works oriented him towards the sciences of the concrete and the experiments of fundamental physics, on which he will also publish numerous works, notably on pendular oscillations and the laws of gravitation. It's after a trip in 1933 to the United States during the Great Depression, that he decides to make the economy. Allais died at his home in Saint-Cloud, near Paris, at the age of 99.Allais considered Léon Walras, Wilfredo Pareto, and Irving Fisher to be his primary influences. He was reluctant to write in or translate his work into English, and many of his major contributions became known to the dominant community only when they were independently rediscovered or popularized by English-speaking economists. At the same time, he claimed Keynes's liberalism and declared himself in favor of an important public sector. Allais attended the inaugural meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society, but he was alone among the attendees to refuse to sign the statement of aims because of a disagreement over the extent of property rights. He exerted an important influence, at the end of the war, on French economists such as Gérard Debreu, Jacques Lesourne, Edmond Malinvaud and Marcel Boiteux. Paul Samuelson said "Had Allais earliest writings been in English, a generation of economic theory would have taken a different course", and felt the Nobel Prize should have been awarded to him much earlier. Assar Lindbeck, the chairman of the selection committee, considered Allais as "a giant within the world of economic analysis".

Photo of Jacques Delors

10. Jacques Delors (1925 - )

With an HPI of 62.93, Jacques Delors is the 10th most famous Economist.  His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.

Jacques Lucien Jean Delors (born 20 July 1925) is a French politician who served as the 8th President of the European Commission from 1985 to 1995. He served as Minister of Finance of France from 1981 to 1984. He was a Member of the European Parliament from 1979 to 1981. As President, Delors was the most visible and influential leader in European affairs. He implemented the policies that closely linked the member nations together and promoted the need for unity. He created a single market that made the free movement of persons, capital, goods, and services within the European Economic Community (EEC) possible. He also headed the committee that proposed the monetary union to create the Euro, a new single currency to replace individual national currencies. This was achieved by the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.

Pantheon has 24 people classified as economists born between 1646 and 1972. Of these 24, 8 (33.33%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living economists include Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Jacques Delors, and Jean-Claude Trichet. The most famous deceased economists include Vilfredo Pareto, François Quesnay, and Frédéric Passy. As of April 2022, 2 new economists have been added to Pantheon including Jacques Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay and Victor de Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau.

Living Economists

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Deceased Economists

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Newly Added Economists (2022)

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Which Economists were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 14 most globally memorable Economists since 1700.