Born in Liverpool, England, in 1835, William Stanley Jevons was the son of an iron merchant. He developed an interest in economics from his father, who wrote about legal and economic matters. In 1855, his father’s firm collapsed, and money worries forced William to cut short his study of natural sciences at University College London (UCL) and work in Australia as an analyst. Five years later he returned to UCL and completed his studies. In 1863, Jevons became a tutor in Manchester, where he met and married Harriet Taylor. The family moved to London in 1876, when Jevons took a professorship at UCL. Despite struggling with ill-health, he was a prolific and important writer in the fields of economics and logic. He is famous for creating a logic piano, an early mechanical computer that could analyze the truthfulness of an argument. He accidentally drowned in 1882, aged only 47.

Key works: 1865 The Coal Question, 1871 The Theory of Political Economy, 1874 Principles of Science

Link to the History of Economic Thought Website