Fifteen years after the Global Financial Crisis: Recessions and Business Cycles in the History of Economic Thought

Pareto and the woman question

Mosca Manuela, Università del Salento

This is the first paper of the AISPE session "From invisibility to epistemological subjects: women in economic thought". This presentation attempts to contribute to the history of the way feminism and economics are connected in the liberal tradition, with a reconstruction of the thought of one of its leading exponents. Pareto dealt directly with the woman question on only two occasions, one in 1872 and the other in 1911, both linked to questionnaires. Apart from this, it is hard to discover his ideas on this issue either in his works or in his correspondence. It is an aspect rarely studied, and only in reference to his youthful relationship with Emilia Peruzzi (Giacalone Monaco 1968, Urbinati 1988, Tasca 2005, Mornati 2015). In other instances (Haker 1953) the subject of women was used only as a field of application for his sociological theories, or as an example of Pareto’s attitude to elegance and fashion (Federici 2019). In this presentation it is analysed under the following headings: I. Youthful feminism; II. The analysis of social legislation, Malthusianism and women’s economic activity; III. Discussion of women’s customs, role and abilities; IV. Ideas of his maturity, opposed to feminism, suffrage and philanthropic work; V. Individual women on whom he specifically focused, whether positively or negatively; VI. Passions linked to women and the rationalisations (sexual residues and derivations). Pareto’s thought on these aspects is compared with that of his fellow economists (J.S. Mill, Jevons and Marshall), and that of the authors who most influenced debate in Italy (again J.S. Mill, Dumas fils and Naville); it is also examined in the context of his political, economic and sociological thought, on the backdrop of his private life and the state of the feminist battles of the period.

Area: Eshet Conference

Keywords: Vilfredo Pareto, feminism, italian economic though

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