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Piero Sraffa

SRAFFA, PIERO (1898–1983), British economist. Sraffa was born in Turin, Italy, the son of a professor of law. He became a professor of economics at the University of Caligari, Sardinia, at the age of 28 but was forced to flee to Britain the following year after his writings offended Mussolini. Sraffa spent the rest of his life at Cambridge University, where he served as Marshall Librarian, fellow of Trinity College, and reader in economics. Sraffa developed a legendary reputation as one of the great theoretical innovators in 20th-century economics, originating the theory of imperfect competition and making significant and influential contributions to the orthodox theory of value. He wrote little, but some of his ideas appeared in his Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities (1960). He is equally well known for his co-editing of 11 volumes of the correspondence of David *Ricardo, published in 1951–73, regarded as one of the great works in the history of economics. Sraffa also exerted a strong influence on many of the leading intellectual figures of his time and is credited with helping Ludwig *Wittgenstein move away from his earlier logical positivism to his later orientation towards linguistic analysis.


ODNB online.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.