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Britain's greatest economist is commemorated

31 August 2005

The achievements of one of Britain's greatest economists, David Ricardo, will be commemorated when a plaque is unveiled on Sunday 21 August 2005 at UCL (University College London).

Ricardo is best known for his eminence as an economic thinker who was also closely involved in the city's financial history. His work initiated the now dominant tradition of economic analysis rooted in systematic theoretical modelling. To this day, his insights into the principles of trade and public finance remain pertinent.

As a trustee of the early modern Stock Exchange, he was a member of the Committee of Proprietors that decided in 1801 to reconstitute it on a private subscription basis and subsequently helped oversee the execution of the plan. He later played a leading role in syndicates contracting loans which financed the Napoleonic wars.

The Chair of Political Economy at UCL was created in 1828 with the assistance of funds raised to commemorate Ricardo - establishing the first Department of Economics in England .

Ricardo was born in London in 1772 to a Jewish family at a time when the city had no university and would have been unable to graduate at either of the existing universities in England - Oxford and Cambridge - by virtue of religious restrictions. When UCL was founded in 1826, three years after Ricardo's death, it was with a commitment to provide opportunities for university education to those of all religious beliefs.

After his death in 1823 his friends in the influential Political Economy Club – figures such as Malthus and Mill – raised funds as a “tribute to his genius”, to perpetuate his memory through the delivery of lectures on the subject of political economy.

When the university appointed Ricardo's distinguished follower, John Ramsay McCulloch, to its first Chair in Political Economy these funds were transferred to UCL to support teaching of the subject.

To honour David Ricardo's memory and his association with the foundation of the department, a plaque will be unveiled by Thomas Sargent, President of the Econometric Society, during the 2005 World Congress of the Econometric Society.

Venue: The UCL Department of Economics, Drayton House, Gordon Street , London WC1H 0AX (a map is available on request)

Date and Time : 21 August 2005 , 13.00 BST

For further information, please contact:

Judith H Moore
UCL Media Relations Manager
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7678
Mobile : +44 (0) 77 333 075 96
Email: Judith.moore@ucl.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

About the World Congress of the Econometric Society

The Econometric Society is the leading international learned society in the field of economics, and its quinquennial world congress is recognised as the most prestigious in economics. UCL is hosting the ninth Econometric Society World Congress from 18-24 August 2005, which is the first time the Congress has been held in London and has not been hosted by a UK institute for 35 years. A full copy of the programme can be accessed on the 2005 Econometric Society World Congress website: http://www.eswc2005.com/

About the UCL Department of Economics

The Chair of Political Economy at UCL was created in 1828 establishing the first Department of Economics in England . The modern department has an outstanding international reputation in key areas of current research including applied theory, microeconometrics, game theory, labour economics, development economics, macroeconomics, industrial economics and environmental economics. It is one of only four economics departments in the UK to achieve the 'double 5*' rating in the two most recent (2001) national Research Assessment Exercises (RAE).