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Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto [vil'fre:do pa're:to] (July 15, 1848, Paris – August 19, 1923, Geneva) was a French-Italian sociologist, economist and philosopher. He made several important contributions especially in the study of income distribution and in the analysis of individuals' choices. He introduced the concept of Pareto efficiency and helped develop the field of microeconomics.
Vilfredo Pareto was born of an exiled noble family in 1848 in Paris, the centre of the popular revolutions of that year. His father was an Italian civil engineer, his mother a French woman. His family went to Italy in 1858. In his childhood, Pareto lived in a middle-class environment, receiving a high standard of education.
In 1867 he earned a degree in mathematical sciences and in 1870 a doctorate in engineering from what is now the Polytechnic University of Turin. His dissertation was entitled "The Fundamental Principles of Equilibrium in Solid Bodies". His later interest in equilibrium analysis in economics and sociology can be traced back to this paper.
For some years after graduation, he worked as a civil engineer, first for the state-owned Italian Railway Company and later in private industry. Meanwhile he became increasingly interested in social and economic problems.
In 1886 he became a lecturer on economics and management at the University of Florence. His stay in Florence was marked by political activity, much of it fuelled by his own frustrations with government regulators.
In 1889, after the death of his parents, Pareto changed his lifestyle, quitting his job and marrying a Russian, Alessandrina Bakunin. He began writing numerous polemical articles against the government, which caused him much trouble.
In 1893 he was appointed as a lecturer in economics at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland where he remained for the rest of his life.
In 1906 he made the famous observation that twenty percent of the population owned eighty percent of the property in Italy, later generalised by Joseph M. Juran and others into the so-called Pareto principle (also termed the 80-20 rule) and generalised further to the concept of a Pareto distribution.
He died in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1923.
More biography, Pareto's works, and legacyEdit
The Pareto index is a measure of the inequality of income distribution.
The Pareto chart is a special type of histogram, used to view causes of a problem in order of severity from largest to smallest. It is a statistical tool that graphically demonstrates the Pareto principle or the 80-20 rule.
Pareto's law concerns the distribution of income.
In his Trattato di Sociologia Generale (1916, rev. French trans. 1917) published in English under the title The Mind and Society (1935), he put forward the first social cycle theory in sociology.
He is famous for saying "history is a graveyard of aristocracies".
- Further information from New School University
- Vilfredo Pareto Biography at the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Library of Economics and Liberty, Econlib
- Pareto chart by www.isixsigma.com
- Article considering him the "Marx of Fascism"
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