Famous French Economists

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Find out more about the greatest French Economists, including Arsène Wenger, Christine Lagarde, Auguste Comte, Thomas Piketty and Henri Fayol.
Vote for Your Favourite French Economists
 1 
Vilfredo Pareto
(Economist, Writer, Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher)
Vilfredo Pareto
3
Birthdate: July 15, 1848
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris
Died: August 19, 1923

A qualified civil engineer, Vilfredo Pareto had initially worked for the railways and the ironworks. However, he gradually deviated to philosophy, sociology, and politics and gained fame for his application of math to economic issues and his introduction of Pareto efficiency. Mind and Society remains his best-known work.

 2 
Esther Duflo
(American-French Economist)
Esther Duflo
5
Birthdate: October 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France

Esther Duflo is a French–American economist. She is credited with co-founding the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a global research center that works towards reducing poverty worldwide. In 2019, she shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Michael Kremer and Abhijit Banerjee for their efforts to reduce poverty.

 3 
Thomas Piketty
(French Economist Best Known for His Work 'Capital in the Twenty-First Century')
Thomas Piketty
5
Birthdate: May 7, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Clichy, France

French economist and professor Thomas Piketty is best known for his book Capital in the Twenty-first Century, which became a New York Times bestseller. He has taught at prestigious institutes such as LSE and MIT. He proposed taxing the rich to prevent high incomes and not merely to increase government revenue.

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 4 
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
(Economist, Politician)
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
3
Birthdate: August 29, 1619
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Reims
Died: September 6, 1683

Born into a merchant family in France, Jean-Baptiste Colbert grew up to hold various administrative posts. Patronized by Cardinal Mazarin, he became affluent and later became one of the most efficient administrators during the regime of Louis XIV. He also established the French merchant navy.

 5 
Frédéric Bastiat
(Member of the National Assembly of France (1848 - 1850))
Frédéric Bastiat
3
Birthdate: June 30, 1801
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bayonne, France
Died: December 24, 1850

An ardent follower of Adam Smith’s ideas, French economist Frederic Bastiat propagated the concept of free trade. Apart from launching his journal Le Libre-Échange, he also penned the iconic satire Sophismes économiques and his most notable work The Law. He also introduced what later came to be known as opportunity cost.

 6 
Dominique Strauss-Kahn
(Former Managing Director of the IMF)
Dominique Strauss-Kahn
4
Birthdate: April 25, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
French economist and former MD of IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn grew up in Morocco, where his parents worked. Before joining politics, he taught economics. He has been in the midst of many controversies, including a sex scandal, in which a hotel maid accused him of sexual assault.
 7 
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
(French Socialist and Politician Regarded as the 'Father of Anarchism')
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
4
Birthdate: January 15, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Besançon, France
Died: January 19, 1865

Often referred to as the Father of Anarchism, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was born to a tavern keeper and grew up working on farms. Largely educated on scholarships, he later became known for his slogan “Property is theft!” and his idea of mutualism. His notable works include What is Property?

 8 
Léon Walras
(Economist, University teacher, Mathematician)
Léon Walras
3
Birthdate: December 16, 1834
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Évreux
Died: January 5, 1910

Léon Walras was a French mathematical economist and Georgist. He is known for formulating the marginal theory of value independently of William Stanley Jevons. Considered a pioneer in the development of general equilibrium theory, he authored the book Éléments d'économie politique pure. He is also considered one of the three leaders of the marginalist revolution. 

 9 
James Mayer de Rothschild
(Banker, Art collector, Economist, Businessperson)
James Mayer de Rothschild
4
Birthdate: May 15, 1792
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: November 15, 1868

German-French banker and the youngest child of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, James Mayer de Rothschild. He took over the reins of his family banking firm after the death of his brother Nathan and headed the French Rothschild banking family. The Légion d'honneur winner later also invested in a vineyard.

 10 
Henri de Castries
(Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Economist)
Henri de Castries
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bayonne

Although born to a French count who had fought for his country, Henri de Castries chose to move away from a military career and ended up being a successful businessman instead, equipped with both a business and a law degree. The former CEO of AXA had also headed the Bilderberg Group

 11 
Jean-Baptiste Say
(French Economist and Businessman Best Known for 'Say’s Law' Which He Popularized)
Jean-Baptiste Say
3
Birthdate: January 5, 1767
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: November 15, 1832

French economist Jean-Baptiste Say supported free trade and competition. Scholars of economics know him for his law of markets, which states that supply creates its own demand. He had experimented with many jobs, from being a journalist to owning a cotton mill, and eventually became an economics professor.

 12 
Jacques Delors
(Economist, Politician, Banker, Trade unionist)
Jacques Delors
3
Birthdate: July 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris

Born to a Banque de France employee, Jacques Delors followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the bank later. Educated at the Sorbonne, he became a Socialist Party member. The former French finance minister has also served as president of the European Commission and supported the formation of the euro.

 13 
Jacques Attali
(French Economic and Social Theorist and the First Head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)
Jacques Attali
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Algiers, Algeria

French economic and social theorist Jacques Attali was born in Algiers and later moved to Paris with his family. Apart from heading the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, he has established various non-profits and the EUREKA program. He has also penned books such as Labyrinth in Culture and Society.

 14 
François Quesnay
(Former economist known for publishing the "Tableau économique" (Economic Table) in 1758)
François Quesnay
3
Birthdate: June 4, 1694
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Méré, France
Died: December 16, 1774

François Quesnay was a French economist and physician. He was a proponent of the Physiocratic school. He is best known for publishing the "Tableau économique" (Economic Table), in which he set forth the foundations of the ideas of the Physiocrats. He also wrote extensively on Chinese politics and society. He was married to a woman named Marianne Woodsen. 

 15 
Jean Tirole
(Economist, University teacher)
Jean Tirole
3
Birthdate: August 9, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Troyes

Jean Tirole is a French professor of economics currently affiliated with Toulouse 1 Capitole University. He is also chairman of the board of the Jean-Jacques Laffont Foundation. He has made tremendous contributions to the fields of industrial organization, banking and finance, game theory, and economics, and psychology. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2014. 

 16 
Henri de Saint-Simon
(French Political, Economic and Socialist Theorist and and One of the Chief Founders of Christian Socialism)
Henri de Saint-Simon
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1760
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 19, 1825

Henri de Saint-Simon was a French political, economic, and socialist theorist and businessman. His ideology was the inspiration behind the political and economic movement known as Saint-Simonianism. He left a major influence in the fields of politics, economics, sociology, and philosophy of science. His ideas also inspired and influenced the concept of utopian socialism.  

 17 
Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune
2
Birthdate: May 10, 1727
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 18, 1781

Anne Robert Jacques Turgot was a chief economist of 18th-century France. One of the pioneers of economic liberalism, he was previously clubbed with the economists of the Physiocratic school. Many of Adam Smith’s ideas in the pathbreaking book Wealth of Nations were hugely inspired by Turgot’s.

 18 
Olivier Blanchard
(Economist, University teacher)
Olivier Blanchard
2
Birthdate: December 27, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Amiens

French economist and MIT professor Olivier Blanchard has also been the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. A macroeconomist, he deals with research topics such as unemployment and labor market. He has also written quite a few books, such as The Economics of Post-Communist Transition.

 19 
Cornelius Castoriadis
(Greek-French Philosopher and Social Critic Known for Co-founding the Group 'Socialisme ou Barbarie')
Cornelius Castoriadis
3
Birthdate: March 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
Died: December 26, 1997

Cornelius Castoriadis was a Greek-French philosopher, economist, social critic, and psychoanalyst. He is known as a co-founder of the Socialisme ou Barbarie group. An influential author in both academic and activist circles, he was the author of The Imaginary Institution of Society. Later in life, he joined the faculty of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS).

 20 
Jean-Claude Trichet
(Economist, Banker)
Jean-Claude Trichet
2
Birthdate: December 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lyon

Jean-Claude Trichet is a French economist. He was the president of the European Central Bank from 2003 to 2011. Previously, he had been the governor of the Bank of France from 1993 to 2003 under the presidencies of François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac. A much-decorated personality, he is a Commander of the Legion of Honor.  

 21 
Louis Bachelier
(Mathematician, Economist, Non-fiction writer)
Louis Bachelier
2
Birthdate: March 11, 1870
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Le Havre
Died: April 26, 1946

French mathematician Louis Bachelier was said to be the first to chart a mathematical model for what is now called the Brownian motion. After losing his wine merchant father early in life, he took over the reins of his family business, but he gradually became a pioneer in mathematical finance.

 22 
Pascal Lamy
(Economist, Politician)
Pascal Lamy
2
Birthdate: April 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Levallois-Perret

Pascal Lamy is a French political consultant. He served as the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for eight years from 2005 to 2013. He has also served as the European Commissioner for Trade. He is a businessman as well and is a board member in several non-profit organizations.  He is a member of the French Socialist Party. 

 23 
Pierre Moscovici
(Politician, Economist)
Pierre Moscovici
2
Birthdate: September 16, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris

Pierre Moscovici is an important French politician, belonging to the Socialist Party. A graduate of the Ecole nationale d’administration, he held important posts both in the European Parliament and French National Assembly before being nominated to represent France at the European Commission, where he served as the Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs from 2014 to 2019.   

 24 
Édouard Balladur
(Economist, Politician)
Édouard Balladur
2
Birthdate: May 2, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: İzmir

Édouard Balladur is a French politician who served as the prime minister of France from 1993 to 1995. He started his political career in the 1960s and steadily rose through the ranks, becoming the minister of economy and finance. A few years later, he took office as the prime minister. The media often caricatures him as aloof, aristocratic, and arrogant. 

 25 
Julia Cagé
(Economist)
Julia Cagé
2
Birthdate: February 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Metz, France

French economist Julia Cagé specializes in political economy, industrial organization and economic history.  An Assistant Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at Sciences Po Paris, she is also a research affiliate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Co-director of the "Evaluation of Democracy" research group of the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies.  

 26 
Frédéric Passy
(Economist & Nobel Peace Prize Winner)
Frédéric Passy
1
Birthdate: May 20, 1822
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris
Died: June 12, 1912

Frédéric Passy was a French pacifist and economist. He is credited with co-founding the Inter-Parliamentary Union as well as many peace societies, such as the Société Française pour l'Arbitrage entre Nations. He is best known for his involvement in the European peace movement, for which he received the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. 

 27 
Antoine-Augustin Cournot
(Philosopher and Mathematician Known for His Contribution to the Development of Economics)
Antoine-Augustin Cournot
1
Birthdate: August 28, 1801
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gray, France
Died: March 31, 1877

Regarded as the first economist who had applied math to solve economic problems, Antoine-Augustin Cournot had penned the iconic work Researches into the Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth. He was also the first to chart a supply and demand curve on a graph and introduced Cournot competition.

 28 
Maurice Allais
(Economist)
Maurice Allais
1
Birthdate: May 31, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 9, 2010

Maurice Allais was a French economist and physicist. Much revered and respected within the realm of economic analysis, Maurice Allais was honored with the prestigious Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1988. Allais' works served as a major influence on popular French economists like Jacques Lesourne, Gérard Debreu, Marcel Boiteux, and Edmond Malinvaud.

 29 
Gerard Debreu
(Economist)
Gerard Debreu
1
Birthdate: July 4, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Calais
Died: December 31, 2004

Born in France, Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist Gerard Debreu, known for his research on general equilibrium and econometrics, was orphaned as a child. He had also fought for the French army. Initially interested in math, he later deviated to economics and taught at the University of California, Berkeley.

 30 
Didier Sornette
(Physicist, Economist)
Didier Sornette
1
Birthdate: June 25, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris
Apart from chairing the entrepreneurial risks department at ETH Zurich, Didier Sornette also teaches at the Swiss Finance Institute and is a former professor of UCLA. An expert in predicting crises in complex systems, he has worked on physical modeling of earthquakes and financial market inefficiencies.
 31 
Stefanie Stantcheva
1
Birthplace: Bulgaria

Stefanie Stantcheva is a French economist currently working as a professor of economics at Harvard University. Her research mainly focuses on public finance, and she is a member of the French Council of Economic Analysis. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Political Economy and the American Economic Review. She received the Elaine Bennett Research Prize in 2020. 

 32 
Bernard Maris
(Economist)
Bernard Maris
1
Birthdate: September 23, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toulouse, France
Died: January 7, 2015

Hailed as an old-style French intellectual and a scholar of Keynes, Bernard Maris was also a journalist, a prolific writer, member of the General Council of the Banque de France and shareholder in Charlie Hebdo magazine. He was killed when on 7 January 2015 gunmen stormed the Charlie Hebdo office while he was having a meeting there, killing eleven others.   

 33 
Pierre Guillaume Frédéric le Play
(French Engineer, Sociologist and Economist Who Developed Techniques for Systematic Research on the Family)
Pierre Guillaume Frédéric le Play
1
Birthdate: April 11, 1806
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: La Rivière-Saint-Sauveur, France
Died: April 5, 1882
French mining engineer and sociologist, Pierre-Guillaume-Frédéric Le Play, developed techniques for systematic research on the family. Le Play's first important work, European Workers was a collection of monographs on the moral life and material conditions of 36 working-class families. He utilized the device of the family budget for the purpose of determining standards of living. 
Victor Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau
1
Birthdate: October 5, 1715
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pertuis, France
Died: July 13, 1789

French political economist Victor de Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau belonged to the Physiocratic school. He is also remembered as the father of economist and French Revolution leader Comte de Mirabeau. He penned books such as Theory of Taxation. Going against tax farmers, he suggested direct tax collection on income and land.

 35 
Jules Dupuit
(French Engineer and Economist Who Was One of the First to Analyze the Cost-Effectiveness of Public Works)
Jules Dupuit
1
Birthdate: May 18, 1804
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fossano, Italy
Died: September 5, 1866

Nineteenth-century French civil engineer and economist Jules Dupuit ascertained the economic issues associated with public works. He pioneered the use of the diminishing marginal utility curve, while finding out the optimum cost for using a bridge, and also explained what later came to be known as consumer surplus.

 36 
Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui
0
Birthdate: November 21, 1798
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: January 28, 1854

French economist Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui is remembered for his liberalism and for his pathbreaking work History of Political Economy in Europe. He was born to a politician and began his career as an educator. He later chaired the political economy department of Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers.

 37 
Clément Juglar
(French Physician and Economist Who Made Detailed Studies of Cycles in Business and Trade)
Clément Juglar
0
Birthdate: October 15, 1819
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 28, 1905

Clément Juglar was a French doctor and statistician. Even while practicing as a doctor, he wrote several articles on trends in French population statistics over several decades. He developed an economic theory of business cycles and is believed to be one of the first to do so. His theory inspired later economists such as Joseph Schumpeter. 

 38 
Joseph Marie Terray
(French Economist, Priest and Controller-General of Finances)
Joseph Marie Terray
0
Birthdate: December 9, 1715
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boën-sur-Lignon, France
Died: February 18, 1778

Joseph-Marie Terray was the controller-general of finances toward the end of Louis XV’s reign. He began his career as an ecclesiastical counselor of the Parlement of Paris. His reforms, such as forced loans, were met with general opposition. He was dismissed over allegations of being associated with the Pact of Famine.

 39 
André Morellet
(Economist)
André Morellet
0
Birthdate: March 7, 1727
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: January 12, 1819

André Morellet was a French economist known for his views on religious tolerance, penal reform, inoculation, and liberty of the press. He advocated for freedom of commerce and sought to bring about reforms to the French political economy. A prolific writer, he made major contributions to the Encyclopédie. He amassed a personal library of over 4,700 titles. 

 40 
Pierre Le Pesant, sieur de Boisguilbert
(French Economist, Lawyer and Judge)
Pierre Le Pesant, sieur de Boisguilbert
1
Birthdate: February 17, 1646
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: October 10, 1714

Economist Pierre Le Pesant, sieur de Boisguillebert was born into a noble family of Normandy and received an elite education. He suggested several economic reforms during Louis XIV’s reign, paving the way for Physiocrats. He supported direct taxes and believed the prosperity of France depended on its agricultural capacity.

 41 
Jean Orry
(Economist)
Jean Orry
0
Birthdate: September 4, 1652
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 29, 1719

Jean Orry was a French economist. He studied law as a young man and served as a munitioneer for the army of Italy for many years. Later on, he became an adviser to Louis XIV of France. He was sent to Spain where he created secretaries of state and intendants in Spanish governmental administration.