Vilfredo Pareto

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Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto (Italian pronunciation: [vilˈfreːdo paˈreːto]; 15 July 1848 – 19 August 1923), born Wilfried Fritz Pareto, was an Italian engineer, sociologist, economist, and philosopher. He made several important contributions to economics, particularly in the study of income distribution and in the analysis of individuals' choices. "His legacy as an economist was profound. Partly because of him, the field evolved from a branch of social philosophy as practiced by Adam Smith into a data intensive field of scientific research and mathematical equations. His books look more like modern economics than most other texts of that day: tables of statistics from across the world and ages, rows of integral signs and equations, intricate charts and graphs."[1] He introduced the concept of Pareto efficiency and helped develop the field of microeconomics. He also was the first to discover that income follows a Pareto distribution, which is a power law probability distribution. The pareto principle was named after him and built on observations of his such as that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He also contributed to the fields of sociology and mathematics.

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Biography

Pareto was born of an exiled noble Genoese family in 1848 in Paris, the centre of the popular revolutions of that year. His father, Raffaele Pareto (1812–1882), was an Italian civil engineer and Ligurian marchese who had left Italy much like Mazzini and other Italian nationalists. His mother, Marie Metenier, was a French woman. Enthusiastic about the 1848 German revolution, his parents named him Fritz Wilfried, which became Vilfredo Federico upon his family's move back to Italy in 1858.[2] In his childhood, Pareto lived in a middle-class environment, receiving a high standard of education. In 1870, he earned a degree in engineering from what is now the Polytechnic University of Turin. His dissertation was entitled "The Fundamental Principles of Equilibrium in Solid Bodies". His later interest in equilibrium analysis in economics and sociology can be traced back to this paper.

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