Sunday, April 25, 2010

Edgeworth Mathematical Psychics

Following Denis Conniffe's masterful lecture on Francis Edgeworth at the Irish Economics Association this weekend, I am currently engaged in a lot of head-scratching reading back through Edgeworth's 1881 work Mathematical Psychics. The talk was particularly fascinating for me in highlighting the strong connection of Edgeworth to contemporary experimental psychologists such as Fechner. It is a time in the history of economic thought with a lot of parallels to the present day, and it is remarkable how much material one can find in the 1880's and 1890's that is very similar in spirit to a lot of modern behavioural economics.

Book club to follow. A full copy of this book is available here


Kevin Denny said...

Edgeworth's paper on statistics, including those on estimating the Least Absolute Deviations model are important. He seemed, according to some, to have come up with the idea for the simplex algorithm about 40 years before Dantzig. Edgeworth series (or expansions) are also used extensively.

Liam Delaney said...

Yes, Dennis covered all of this extensively. It was a great lecture. He will publishing it in a history journal soon.