The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • J. A. Kregel
Reference work entry


An individual who lives on interest income (rent) received in compensation for the loan of property held in the form of money is called a rentier, not to be confused with landowners who receive rent paid for the loan of property in land. The original French word signifies the holder of rentes, a form of French government debt that was widely diffused in the 19th century. It served to distinguish this form of income from the definition of interest, used by some economists such as Walras (1926, p. 223), as payment made by the entrepreneur to the capitaliste for the use of his capital. Today the term refers generically to the owner of any debt obligation, public or private, paying periodic, annual or semi-annual, usually fixed amounts of interest over a long term.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Kregel
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