Opera Omnia Luigi Einaudi

Lampertico, Fedele (1833-1906)

Tipologia: Paragrafo/Articolo – Data pubblicazione: 01/01/1933

Lampertico, Fedele (1833-1906)

Encyclopaedia of the social sciences, editor in chief Edwin R.A. Seligman, New York, The Macmillan Company, vol. IX, 1933, p. 27




LAMPERTICO, FEDELE (1833-1906), Italian economist. Lampertico owes his distinction not to any original contribution to economic theory but to his participation together with Scialoja, Cossa, Messedaglia, Luzzatti and Cusumano in the movement to revitalize the methods of economic research by stressing inductive investigation. The movement culminated in the famous congress of the Associazione per il Progresso degli Studi Economici held in Milan in 1875 and in the publication of the first (Paduan) series (1875-79) of the «Giornale degli economisti» (formerly Rassegna di agricoltura, industria e commercio). A spokesman of the new historical school, Lampertico was made the target of an impassioned attack by Francesco Ferrara on the invasion of economics by German historical tendencies. Lampertico replied that in its predilection for inductive observation as against abstract deduction and for principles of local and temporary validity as opposed to universal and absolute generalizations the new school was following scientific tradition well established in Italy. He did not, however, deny the existence of general laws in economics but only cautioned against their assumption on a priori grounds or without sufficient inductive basis.



Lampertico’s preference for historical studies is evidenced by his Giammaria Ortes e la scienza economica al suo tempo, an essay on the Venetian friar who in the second half of the eighteenth century came very near to the formulation of the Malthusian doctrine of population. In 1871 he published Sulla statistica teorica in generale e su Melchiorre Gioia in particolare, a study of the beginnings of statistics in Germany and Italy. Lampertico completed only five volumes of his general treatise, Economia dei popoli e degli stati, which was for a time heralded as a new classic.



Lampertico combined pursuit of scholarship with active participation in the political and economic affairs of his country. From 1866 to 1870 he was a member of parliament and from 1873 senator for life; some of his senatorial reports rank as classics. He successfully resisted the introduction of agricultural protectionism in 1885 and on several occasions urged the adoption of various measures of social reform. It was largely as a result of his untiring efforts as exemplified in his reports on the non-convertible banknote issue in 1868 and on the resumption of cash payments in 1881 that the circulation of paper money did not undermine monetary stability in the years 1866 to 1884 and that the paper issues were subsequently kept within bounds. In all his activities he effectively combined theoretical knowledge with keen insight into everyday economic problems.



Important works: Giammaria Ortes e la scienza economica al suo tempo (Venice 1865); Sulla statistica teorica in generale e su Melchiorre Gioia in particolare (Venice 1971, 2nd ed. Rome 1879); Economia dei popoli e degli stati, 5 vols. (Milan 1874-84); A Francesco Ferrara in «Giornale degli economisti», vol. II (1875-76) 115-44; Della vita e degli scritti di Luigi Valeriani Molinari, economista (Rome 1904). Consult: Rumor, Sebastiano, La vita e le opere di Fedele Lampertico (Vicenza 1907), with complete bibliography; Schullern-Schrattenhofen, Hermann von, Die theoretische National Ekonomie Italiens in neuester Zeit (Leipsic 1891); Loria, Achille, in «Economic Journal», vol. XVI (1906) 311-13.

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