H.C. Recktenwald



Horst Claus Recktenwald was born on January 25, 1920 in Spiesen/Saar, Germany. After completing both his studies and his postdoctoral “Habilitation” in Economics at the University of Mainz he received his first appointment as Professor of Economics at the University of Darmstadt, and later at the University of Freiburg. In 1963 he took on a position at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, where he remained until his death. From 1978 – 1981 he served as president of the International Institute of Public Finance (IIPF, Paris), and later as honorary president. In 1983 he was elected into the Leibniz-Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz. Recktenwald was a member of significant international organizations in his field and often served as advisor to the German federal government. He was also involved in the founding and development of universities in Bavaria. He received numerous honors for his achievements during his lifetime.

Recktenwald was the author of a considerable number of books and treatises as well as editor and co-editor of several national and international academic journals, including the Journal of Public Economics and the Public Finance Quarterly. A classical economist, Recktenwald dedicated a great deal of his research to the Ordnungstheorie und –politik, an area of economics deeply rooted in the history of classic economic thought.

Among his academic achievements is an extensive analysis of the collected works of Adam Smith, including a splendid translation of Smith’s Wealth of Nations into German. Recktenwald also initiated the publication of facsimile editions of economic classics, all of which contain essays by authorities in the field. Another area of Recktenwald’s research focused on the theory and politics of public sector economics with regard to its relationship to market economy. His theoretical and empirical studies contain essays on the structure, extent and effects of public revenues and expenditures, with emphasis in cost-benefit analysis and the waste of public funds, as well as those on welfare losses of the public revenue system are considered equal in significance to his book Tax Incidence and Income Redistribution, published in four languages.

Throughout his life Recktenwald attempted to use his research to combine the tradition and historical evolution of economics with the practical approach of science, using results of formal theory and empirical work to gain insight into economic and social reality.