The world re-fraimed: Statistics and the development of economic thought in Hungary from the 1770s to 1848

Jour Fixe talk by Mária Hidvégi on December 7, 2016

Mária Hidvégi, member of the research project “Academic Reforms and Knowledge Transfer: Statistics in Hungary, late 18th – early 19th Centuries” led by Borbála Zsuzsanna Török will present this week's Jour Fixe.

Mária's study analyses how statistics contributed to the development of economic thought. Descriptive statistics - as part of state sciences - provided a systematic description of all aspects of state and society. This new academic discipline had been transferred from German universities into the Habsburg Monarchy in the second half of the 18th century. In Hungary statistics not only enhanced the efficiency of administration, it greatly contributed to the development of concepts and visions of the country's economic future concerning both internal reforms and the form of its economic integration into the Habsburg Monarchy and the Continent. The focus of the presentation will be on the role of science: how statistics shaped the educational elite's perception of the country's cultural and economic situation by using new categories and standards of international comparison.