Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Lang’s “economical table” and Buquoy’s “tabular overview”: Two early German contributions to social accounting and input-output tables

Gehrke Christian, University of Graz

This paper provides a comparative assessment of two early German contributions to the development of input-output tables and social accounting matrices. Joseph Lang’s contributions in Grundlinien der politischen Arithmetik (1811) and Was ist das Geld? (1815) have been discussed previously, but some specific features of his work have not been sufficiently appreciated. These concern in particular his novel conceptualization of the public sector, his analysis of monetary circulation and the reproduction of capital, and his examination of the role of credit money in fostering economic development and structural change. In addition, the paper also shows that Isnard’s Traité des richesses appears not to have been a major source of inspiration for Lang, who rather combined, and further elaborated on, ideas which he had found in Büsch, Herrenschwand, and Young. Lang’s “economical table” and his rudimentary social accounting matrices are then compared with the “tabular overviews” presented by Georg von Buquoy in the second addendum, published in 1817, of his Theorie der Nationalwirthschaft (1815). While Buquoy’s contributions to mathematical economics have deservedly attracted some attention, his attempts at constructing input-output tables in physical terms have remained unacknowledged.

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Keywords: Social accounting, input-output tables, circular flow, economic development, structural change

Paper file