Mangoldt, Hans Karl Emil Von

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Mangoldt, Hans Karl Emil Von



Hans Karl Emil von Mangoldt (1824–1868), German economist, was born in Dresden. After studying law and political science at the universities of Leipzig and Geneva, he took his doctorate in political science at the University of Tubingen with a dissertation entitled “Über die Aufgabe, Stellung und Einrichtung der Sparkassen” (1847;“On the Purpose, Position, and Establishment of Savings Banks”). He returned to Dresden after obtaining his doctorate.

It was some years before Mangoldt entered upon an academic career. Between 1847 and 1850 he held a post in the ministry of foreign affairs but had to resign for political reasons. After spending two years in Leipzig studying political economy, he became editor of the Weimarer Zeitung in 1852. However, his political convictions again made it necessary for him to resign his position. The publication of his Lehre vom Unternehmergewinn in 1855 won him an appointment as Privatdozent of political economy at the University of Gottingen, and in 1858 he was promoted to associate professor. In 1862 he was appointed professor of political science and political economy at the University of Freiburg (Breisgau). Only four years after he moved there he died of a heart attack.

Mangoldt’s principal works, Die Lehre vom Unternehmergewinn (1855) and Grundriss der Volkswirthschaftslehre (1863), are outstanding works of nineteenth-century German economics. Yet at the time that he wrote, the significance of his contributions was more fully appreciated in England than in Germany. The neglect and even rejection of economic theory that prevailed in Germany after the rise of the historical school diminished the impact of Mangoldt’s ideas on economists in German universities, who lacked the well-grounded theoretical tradition of their Anglo-Saxon colleagues.

In England, Mangoldt’s theory of international values—a highly original extension of Ricardo’s theory of comparative costs—aroused the interest of F. Y. Edgeworth, who discussed it at length in the Economic Journal (1894); and his doctrine of entrepreneurial profit was mentioned approvingly by Alfred Marshall in the latter’s exposition of his theory of quasirent: “It has indeed been shown by a long series of writers, among whom Senior and Mill, Hermann and Mangoldt are conspicuous, that much of what is commonly called profits ought rather to be regarded as belonging to a special class of income derived from ’a differential advantage in producing a commodity’ that is, the possession by one or more persons of facilities for production that are not accessible to all” ([1890] 1961, vol. 2, p. 462). Indeed, Mangoldt was one of the first economists who endeavored to establish entrepreneurial profit as a special category of income along-side wages, interest, and rent.

Mangoldt’s theory of prices, as expounded in the first edition of the Grundriss, is truly a pioneer achievement of lasting value. With a precision not attained by any other author prior to 1863, he set forth the static theory of price formation on the assumption of free atomistic competition in supply and demand; the form of his presentation remains valid today. Cournot had employed curves of supply and demand as far back as 1838, but there is no reason to assume that Mangoldt was acquainted with Cournot’s work; Edgeworth was probably right when he described Mangoldt as “one of the independent discoverers of the mathematical theory of Demand and Supply” (see 1891–1921, pp. 52-53). Yet Mangoldt went far beyond Cournot, and this is his truly original contribution. He did not confine himself to determining the existence of an equilibrium price but set forth the special features of price formation that arise from various forms of the supply curve and the demand curve and pointed out that there may be several equilibrium prices. He also described the process of transition from disequilibrium to an equilibrium price. Yet Mangoldt’s most significant contribution to price theory is, no doubt, the analysis of price formation for the case of joint demands or for the case of joint supplies or for the case of both. Ideas and modes of thought initiated here were not developed further until Alfred Marshall took them up.

Mangoldt’s important pioneering achievements were not appreciated in Germany. Although the second edition of the Grundriss, edited by F. Kleinwachter in 1871, after Mangoldt’s death, appeared without any of the geometrical apparatus of the first edition, the book failed to gain a wider market. Only today do we begin to realize the significance of Mangoldt’s contribution as an important link in the chain of great German theoretical achievements of the nineteenth century.

Erich Schneider

[For the historical context of Mangoldt’s work, see the biographies ofcournot; edgeworth; marshall.]


1847 Über die Aufgabe, Stellung und Einrichtung der Sparkassen. Dissertation, Univ. of Tubingen.

1855 Die Lehre vom Unternehmergewinn: Ein Beitrag zur Volkswirthschaftslehre. Leipzig: Teubner.

(1863) 1871 Grundriss der Volkswirthschaftslehre. 2d ed. Stuttgart (Germany): Maier. → A chapter of this work, “Das Tauschverhältniss der Güter im allgemein,” was translated as “The Exchange Ratio of Goods” and published in Volume 11 of the International Economic Papers.


Edgeworth, Francis Y. (1891–1921) 1963 Papers Relating to Political Economy. New York: Franklin. → Contains and reviews articles which appeared in the Economic Journal from 1891 to 1921.

Edgeworth, Francis Y. 1894 The Theory of International Values. Economic Journal 4:35-50, 424-443, 603-638. → Reprinted in Edgeworth 1891–1921.

Hutchison, Terence W. (1953) 1962 A Review of Economic Doctrines, 1870–1929. 2d ed. Oxford: Clarendon.

Marshall, Alfred (1890) 1961 Principles of Economics. 9th ed., 2 vols. New York and London: Macmillan.