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The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics, Second Edition

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus

This thoroughly updated and revised edition of a popular and authoritative reference work introduces the reader to the major concepts and leading contributors in the field of law and economics. The Companion features accessible, informative and provocative entries on all the significant issues, and breaks new ground by bringing together widely dispersed yet theoretically congruent ideas.
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Chapter 53: Gustav von Schmoller (1838–1917)

Helge Peukert


Helge Peukert The man and his time Gustav von Schmoller, the main representative of the younger German Historical school, was born on 24 June 1838 in Heilbronn, where his father had been Kameralverwalter of the Württembergische fiscal interests since 1833, a family tradition deeply influencing young Schmoller and which goes back to 1651, when an ancestor became a public servant. After finishing Gymnasium in Stuttgart in 1856, he stayed for one more year in his father’s office, learning a lot about financial and administrative law. In 1857, he began to study financial, state and administrative law at the University of Tübingen as the start of a career as a civil servant. Furthermore, he attended lectures in philosophy, history (under Max Duncker) and even the natural sciences (for his biographical background, see Balabkins, 1988, chs 1–4; Kaufhold, 1988). The combination of economics (called ‘national economics’ at the time) and history is already manifest in his first major scientific undertaking ‘Untersuchung der volkswirtschaftlichen Anschauungen zur Reformationszeit’, written in 1860. It is a study of the economic conceptions of the Reformation period, with which he won first prize in a competition and for which he was awarded his PhD. In this study the main question of his intellectual life already played a major role: the tension between the necessity of an individual sphere and a strong, market-regulating state. The second part of his time as junior barrister he passed at the Württembergische statistical office headed...

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