Philosophers and practical men: Charles Babbage, Irish merchants and the economics of information

Frank Geary, Renee Prendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Before the emergence of coordination of production by firms, manufacturers and merchants traded in markets with asymmetric information. Evidence suggests that the practical knowledge thus gained by these agents was well in advance of contemporary political economists and anticipates twentieth-century developments in the economics of information. Charles Babbage, who regarded merchants and manufacturers as the chief sources of reliable economic data, drew on this knowledge as revealed in the evidence of manufacturers and merchants presented to House of Commons select committees to make an important pioneering contribution to the theory of production and exchange with information asymmetries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-594
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Journal of the History of Economic Thought
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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