A pocket history of economic dictionaries
This is an abreviated version of "A brief history of economic dictionaries. An essay in bibliography", Chapter 2 of the volume Crises and cycles in economic dictionaries and encyclopedias
the → indicates that full bibliographic information concerning the item is given in the bibliography
The history of specialized encyclopedic works concerned with economics, either exclusively or as one of their subjects, goes back at least to →Chomel’s Dictionnaire oeconomique, the first edition of which was published in 1709. The abbreviated title, however, is misleading. Eighteenth and early nineteenth century ‘economic’ dictionaries were in fact concerned with agricultural techniques at large, with practical arts, or with trade and commerce. The title of Chomel, indeed, continues: Dictionnaire oeconomique contenant divers moyens d’augmenter et conserver son bien, et même sa santé: avec plusieurs remèdes assurez et éprouvez, pour un très-grand nombre de maladies, et beaucoup de beaux secrets pour parvenir à une longue et heureuse vieillesse: quantité de moyens pour élever, nourrir, guérir, et faie profiter toutes sortes d’animaux domestiques, comme brebis, moutons, boeufs, chevaux, mulets, poules, abeilles et vers à soye: différents filets pour la pêche et la chasse de toutes sortes de poissons, oiseaux et animaux, etc.: une infinité de secrets découverts dans le jardinage, la botanique, l’agriculture, les terres, les vignes, les arbres, comme aussi la connoissance des plantes des païs étrangers, et leurs qualitez spécifiques, etc.: les moyens de tirer tout l’avantage des fabriques de savoi, d’amidon, filler le cotton, et faire à peu de frais des pierreries artificielles, fort ressemblantes aux naturelles, peindre en mignature sans sçavoir le dessein, et travailler les bayettes ou étoffes établies nouvellement en ce royaume, pour l’usage de ce païs, et pour l’Espagne, etc.: les moyens dont se servent les marchands, pour faire de gros établissemens, ceux par lesquels les Anglois et les Hollandois se sont enrichis, en trafiquant des chevaux, des chèvres, et des brebis, etc.: tout ce que doivent faire les artisans, jardiniers, vignerons, marchands, négocians, banquiers, commissionnaires, magistrats, officiers de justice, gentils-hommes, et autres d’une qualité et d’un emploi plus relevé, pour s’enrichir, etc.: chacun se pourra convaincre de toutes ces véritez, en cherchant ce qui lui peut convenir, chaque chose étant rangée par ordre alphabétique comme les autres dictionnaires. Also denoted ‘economic dictionaries’ but actually concerned with practical arts are →Zincke’s Allgemeines Oeconomisches Lexicon (1731), →Félice’s Encyclopédie oeconomique ou système général I° d'oeconomie rustique, … II° . d’oeconomie domestique... III° . d’oeconomie politique (1770), →Krünitz’s Oekonomische encyklopädie (1773–1858), →Lübeck’s Allgemeines ökonomisches Lexikon (1812), and the →Oekonomisches Technologisches Wörterbuch by Sickler, Trommsdorff and Weise (1817–27).
Far more numerous were the commercial dictionaries, beginning from →Savary’s Dictionnaire universel de commerce (1723), →Postlethwayt’s Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce (1751–55), →Ludovici’s Eröffnete Akademie der Kaufleute, oder vollständiges Kaufmanns-Lexicon (1752–56), →Canga Argüelles’s Diccionario de hacienda, con aplicación a España (1833–34), →Antonelli’s Enciclopedia del negoziante ossia Gran dizionario del commercio, dell'industria, del banco e delle manifatture (1839–43), to cite only the first in each language, and most famously →McCulloch’s Dictionary, practical, theoretical, and historical, of commerce and commercial navigation (1832) and →Guillaumin’s Encyclopédie du commerçant (1839), both of which went through numerous edition. The golden era of these commercial dictionaries was around the middle of the nineteenth century. Most of them were in 2 or 3 volumes or even larger, but among them we also find the first pocket dictionary: →Crosby’s merchant’s and tradesman’s pocket dictionary, adapted to merchants, manufacturers, and traders in all the various branches of commercial intercourse (1808).
At first commercial dictionaries were solely concerned with commerce and trade, but beginning from the early nineteenth century they started incorporating industrial and financial matters, and eventually turned into the modern dictionaries of business and economics. The first bearing banks and manufactures in the title seems to have been →Buisson’s Dictionnaire universel de commerce, Banque, manufactures, douanes, pêche, navigation marchande (1805), followed after some time by →Monbrion’s Dictionnaire universel du commerce, de la banque et des manufactures (1838) and →Melano di Portula’s Dizionario analitico di diritto e di economia industriale e commerciale (1843). The first explicitly using the term ‘business’ was →Slater’s Pitman’s business mans guide. A handbook for all engaged in business (1903). While the nineteenth and early twentieth century business and economics dictionaries were of a fair size, most works of this kind published in the last decades of the twentieth century were fairly small, less than 1,000 pages but often around half that size. In the early twenty-first century, however, a few large works have been published, such as →Wankel’s Encyclopedia of Business in Today’s World (2009), →Darnay and Magee’s Encyclopedia of small business (2007), →Kaliski’s Encyclopedia of business and finance (2001), and →Malonis’s Encyclopedia of business (2000).
Meanwhile some dictionaries have been addressed to the financial world, beginning from →Jones’s Dictionnaire des finances. Contenant la définition de tous les termes de finance, leur usage, & leurs differentes applications dans toutes sortes d’affaires (1727), →Giraudeau’s La Banque rendue facile aux principales Nations de l’Europe (1741–43), and →Surgy’s Dictionnaire encyclopédique des finances (1784–87, part of Panckoucke’s methodic encyclopedia). During most of the nineteenth century banking terminology was discussed jointly with business and commercial terms, but towards its end a few dedicated dictionaries started to be published: Bithell’s small A counting-house dictionary: containing an explanation of the technical terms used by merchants and bankers in the money market and on the Stock Exchange... (1882), and Say’s 2-volumes Dictionnaire des finances (1889–94). More followed in the twentieth century—the major ones, in size, being →François-Marsal, Encyclopédie de banque et de bourse (1928-30), Newman, Murray and Eatwell’s New Palgrave dictionary of Money and Finance (1992), and →Gehrke’s Handwörterbuch des Bank- und Finanzwesens (1995), while →Munn’s Encyclopedia of banking and finance (1924), Gabler’s Bank-Lexikon (first edited by →Müller and Löffelholz, 1953) and →Bernard, Colli and Lewandowski’s Dictionnaire économique et financier (1975) went through a number of editions—, although most such works also include either business terms or economic lexicon.
Dedicated economics dictionaries (or dictionaries of political economy, following the terminology current during most of the nineteenth century ) are a relatively recent invention. The first such work is →Ganilh’s Dictionnaire analytique d’économie politique (430 pages, 1826), followed by →Coquelin and Guillaumin’s Dictionnaire de l’économie politique (2 volumes, 1852–53, frequently reprinted and taken up: see Chapter 7), →Boccardo’s Dizionario della economia politica e del commercio (4 volumes, 1857: see Chapter 10), →MacLeod’s aborted Dictionary of political economy (one volume up to letter C, 1863, see Chapter 12), →Rentzsch’s Handwörterbuch der Volkswirthschaftslehre (1150 pages, 1866, see Chapter 13), →Piernas y Hurtado’s Vocabulario de la economia (192 pages, 1877), →Say and Chailley’s Nouveau dictionnaire d’économie politique (2 volumes, 1891–92: Chapter 11), →Palgrave’s Dictionary of political economy (3 volumes, 1894–99, Chapter 15), and →Elster’s Wörterbuch der Volkswirtschaft (2 volumes, 1898, see Chapter 18). To these we can add some of the commercial dictionaries that carried numerous economic entries, in particular →McCulloch’s Dictionary … of commerce and commercial navigation (circa 1200 pages, 1832 and numerous later editions) and Guillaumin’s Encyclopédie du commerçant (2 vol. 1837–39: see Chapters 4 and 5).
Ganilh and Pierna y Urtado excepted, then, all the first economic dictionaries of the nineteenth century were fairly large sized, and essentially devised (up to Palgrave’s) as reference tools for the few existing economists and for other professional that may have occasionally needed specific economic notions. Early in the twentieth century began the publication of shorter dictionaries, addressed to the general public and to students, beginning from the already cited →Dictionary of Economic Terms by Bower (1905). Up to the 1930s, works of 2-3 volumes or more remained the most frequently occurring size for this kind of dictionaries; but by the 1960s, two thirds to three fourth of the economics dictionaries were, and remain to date, shorter than 600 pages.
During the nineteenth century, the central decades saw a relative peak in the appearance of specifically economic dictionaries, with on average a major dictionary being published every couple of years. There followed a slow decline until the interwar years, when the publication of such works plummeted in England and was altogether suspended in France, Italy and Spain, and only resumed in the 1950s (even later for Spain, where reference works were translated rather than compiled anew). The production of economic dictionaries continued however in Germany, and had a temporary burst in Japan. After a slow restart in the postwar decades, this kind of literature exploded in the 1960 and continues to grow exponentially, in particular to the publication of small dictionaries, while the output of important works (two volumes or more) has also increased in the 1960s but remained thereafter more or less constant at about a dozen dictionaries per decade. German language countries have been particularly active in the publication of dictionaries since the 1960s (they publish 40 to 50 per cent of the dictionaries listed in the bibliography of Chapter 28), followed by French, English and Italians. Considers the size of English-speaking markets as compared to the others, this indicates that Anglo-saxon countries have a relative aversion to these reference tools, while Germans have a marked preference for them —probably reflecting both cultural differences and diverse approaches to teaching and studying.
Economic entries (including some on crises) also feature prominently in social sciences dictionaries. The first of the kind seems to be →Robinet’s Dictionnaire universel des sciences morales, économique, politique et diplomatique; ou bibliothèque de l’homme d’état et du citoyen (1777–83), although the genre gained momentum in Germany towards in the second half of the nineteenth century (thus in parallel with the writing of specifically economic dictionaries) with the publication of a number of Staats-lexika, beginning from →Rotteck’s 12-volumes Staats-lexikon: Encyklopädie der sämmtlichen Staatswissenschaften für alle Stände (1845–48, increased to 14 volumes at the 3rd edition 1856–66), followed among others by →Bluntschli’s Deutsches Staats-Wörterbuch (1857–70) and →Staatswörterbuch in drei Bänden (1869–72), Wagener’s monumental 22-volumes →Staats- und Gesellschafts-Lexikon (1859–67), →Bruder’s Staatslexikon (1889–97) and →Conrad, Elster, Lexis and Loening’s Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaften (1890–95, followed by three other editions, and resumed as →Handwörterbuch der Sozialwissenschaften by Beckerath, 1956–66. See Chapters 19 + chapter yet to be written on Herkner). In the English language, there were →Long’s Political Dictionary; forming a work of universal reference, both constitutional and legal; and embracing the terms of civil administration, political economy and social relations, and all the more important statistical departments of finance and commerce, →Lalor’s 3 volumes Cyclopædia of political science, political economy, and of the political history of the United States (1881–84) and →Bliss’s Encyclopedia of social reform (1897), followed by →Seligman’s Encyclopaedia of the social sciences (1930–35), succeeded by two edition of the →International encyclopedia of the social sciences (Sills, 1968—see Chapter 21—and Darity 2008). In Italian there are no project of comparable breadth except →Bedeschi’s 9-volumes Enciclopedia delle scienze sociali (1991–2001). French writers after Robinet only offered a few relatively slim works during the nineteenth century (→Ott’s Dictionnaire des sciences politiques et sociales, 1854, and →Block’s Dictionnaire général de la politique, 1863–64: See Chapters 9 and 11); after practically interrupting the compiling of dictionaries in the first part of the twentieth century, in the last decades they have been by far the most prolific producers of social sciences dictionaries (more than 40 between 1990 and 2010, separately counting all editions), all of which, however, of small size (the largest being →Mesure and Savidan, Dictionnaire des sciences humaines, 2006, 1264 pages, most of the others being less than half that length).
Besides general economic dictionaries and the larger enterprises described above, some economic dictionaries are specialized on specific sub-disciplines, themes, or schools of thought. Although their topics are diverse, some strains can be identified. From the mid-1960s to the end of the 1980s there florished dictionary of Marxist and socialist economics. The first of this kind was →Miyakawa’s Marukusu keizaigaku jiten (Dictionary of Marxis economics, 1965), followed by →Luchterhand et al.’s Wörterbuch der Ökonomie: Sozialismus (1967, 6th edition in 1984), →Kuruma’s Marx-Lexikon zur politischen Ökonomie (1973) and half a dozen others, most of which in German except the →Dizionario Marx Engels edited by Papi (1983) and on the French side the →Livre de Poche on Le Marxisme (1976, also translated in to Italian) and more recently →Bidet’s Dictionnaire Marx contemporain (2001). These are counterbalanced on the opposed side by a →Mises made easier: a glossary for Ludwig von Mises Human action (P. L. Greaves, 1974) and →Foldvary’s Dictionary of free-market economics (1998), while on middle gound there is a →Lexikon soziale Marktwirtschaft by Hasse (2002). Keynesian economics also has its dictionaries: →Cate’s Encyclopedia of Keynesian economics (1998, 2nd edition in preparation) and →The Elgar Companion to Post Keynesian Economics edited by King (2003).
A number of dictionaries—mostly Geman and French—are meant to guide through financial markets. Among them, two enjoyed a number of republications: the →Gabler-Bank-Lexikon: Bank—Börse—Finanzierung, which first appeared in 1953, is in its 13th edition (2003), and →Villeneuve’s Le dictionnaire technique de la bourse et des marchés financier, regulary updated since 1990. Environmental economics also has its dictionaries (→Grafton and Quentin, Dictionary of environmental economics, science, and policy, 2001; →Markandya, Dictionary of environmental economics, 2001; →Olsson and Piekenbrock, Kompakt-Lexikon Umwelt- und Wirtschaftspolitik , 1993, 1996 and 1998), as well as International economics (→Volosin et al, Spravocnik ekonomista-mezdunarodnika [Dictionary of international economics], 1990; →Hinkelman, Dictionary of international trade, 1994), macro– and micro-economics (→Snowdon and Vane, An encyclopedia of macroeconomics, 2002, and →Sluchaj, Dovidnyk bazovych terminiv ta ponjat z mikroekonomiky [Dictionary of the basic terms of microeconomics], 1998), mathematical economics (→Beckmann et al., Handwörterbuch der Mathematischen Wirtschaftswissenschaften, 1979, with volumes on economic theory, econometrics and statistics, and operations research), econometrics (→Olmi and July, Lexique du calcul économique et de l’économétrie, 1970, →Darnell, A dictionary of econometrics, 1994, and two reissues of the 2nd edition of →The New Palgrave, namely Microeconometrics and Macroeconometrics and time-series analysis, 2010), and finally international political economy (→Jones, Routledge encyclopedia of international political economy, edited by Jones, 1991).
Our specific topic, cycles and crises, has also stimulated the production of some dictionaries. Two are concerned with a particular event: →McElvaine, Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, 2004, and →Leab, The Great Depression and the New Deal: a thematic encyclopedia, 2010. Others are more general. →Mayberry’s ABCs of the financial crisis: a dictionary of terms, 2008, is a slim glossary of 24 pages. Much more ponderous are →Ciment’s Booms and Busts: An Encyclopedia of Economic History from Tulipmania of the 1630s to the Global Financial Crisis of the 21st Century, 2010, and →Glasner’s Business cycles and depressions. An encyclopedia, 1997, both considering historical events and theoretical aspects (both, however, failing to include entries under the general heading “business cycles”).