The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Hume, David (1711–1776)

  • Eugene Rotwein
Reference work entry


David Hume’s economic essays (which originally appeared in 1752 in a volume entitled Political Discourses) comprise a small portion of his writings. The scope of Hume’s thought was vast. He wrote extensively in philosophy (the area in which his reputation primarily lies), explored several of the social sciences and the humanities, and was deeply interested in history. His multi-volume History of England (1754–1761) was a path-breaking work in the field. Nonetheless, in the literature Hume’s economic writings have typically been treated as an entirely self-contained aspect of his work. This is not surprising, since in his economic essays he does not allude to his other writings, and subsequent disciplinary specialization has not encouraged consideration of any interrelationships between the two. For their part, philosophers have often treated Hume’s philosophical writings in isolation from his other work.


Capital supply Class Economic growth Economic individualism Economic psychology Excise taxes Free trade Gains from trade Happiness Historical economics Human nature Hume, D. Institutional economics International trade Invisible hand Laws of human behaviour Liberty Luxury Multiplier Natural history Optimum taxation Probability Psychological hedonism Public debt Quantity theory of money Rate of interest Smith, A. Specie-flow mechanism Tax incidence Utilitarianism Utility of poverty doctrine 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene Rotwein
    • 1
  1. 1.