A. L. Bowley
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Sir Arthur Lyon Bowley,
FBAFBA may refer to: * Federation of British Artists * Federal Bar Association * Fellow of the British Academy * Filsports Basketball Association * First Baptist Academy (Houston, Texas), United States * First Baptist Academy of Dallas, Texas, United S ...
(6 November 1869 – 21 January 1957) was an English statistician and economist who worked on economic statistics and pioneered the use of sampling techniques in social surveys.


Early life

Bowley's father, James William Lyon Bowley, was a minister in the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
. He died at the age of 40 when Arthur was one, leaving Arthur's mother as mother or stepmother to seven children. Arthur was educated at Christ's Hospital, and won a scholarship to
Trinity College, Cambridge Trinity College is a constituent college A collegiate university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education ...
to study mathematics. He graduated as Tenth Wrangler. At Cambridge Bowley had a short course of study with the economist
Alfred Marshall Alfred Marshall (26 July 1842 – 13 July 1924) was an English economist, who was one of the most influential economists of his time. His book, '' Principles of Economics'' (1890), was the dominant economic textbook in England for many years. ...

Alfred Marshall
who had also been a Cambridge wrangler. Under Marshall's influence Bowley became an economic statistician. His ''Account of England's Foreign Trade'' won the Cobden Essay Prize and was published as a book. Marshall watched over Bowley's career, recommending him for jobs and offering him advice. Most notoriously Marshall told him the ''Elements of Statistics'' contained "too much mathematics."


Academic career

After leaving Cambridge Bowley taught mathematics at St John's School in
Leatherhead Leatherhead is a town in the Mole Valley Mole Valley is a non-metropolitan district, local government district in Surrey, England. Its council is based in Dorking. The other town in the district is Leatherhead. The largest villages are ...

Leatherhead
from 1893 to 1899. Meanwhile, he was publishing in economic statistics; his first article for the journal of the
Royal Statistical Society The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is an established statistical society. It has three main roles: a British learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organiza ...
) appeared in 1895. In that year the
London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 1895 , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
opened. Bowley was appointed as a part-time lecturer and he would be connected with the School until he retired in 1936. He can be considered one of the School's intellectual fathers. However, he continued to teach elsewhere; for more than a decade he taught at University College, Reading (now the
University of Reading The University of Reading is a public university #REDIRECT Public university #REDIRECT Public university #REDIRECT Public university#REDIRECT Public university A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ...
). He was the Newmarch lecturer at
University College London , mottoeng = Let all come who by merit deserve the most reward , established = , type = public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organizati ...
(1897–98 and 1927–28). At the LSE he became
Reader A reader is a person who Reading, reads. It may also refer to: Computing and technology * Adobe Reader (now Adobe Acrobat), a PDF reader * Bible Reader for Palm, a discontinued PDA application * A card reader, for extracting data from various fo ...
in 1908, and Professor in 1915. In 1919, he was appointed to a newly established
Chair of Statistics One of the basic pieces of furniture, a chair is a type of seat. Its primary features are two pieces of a durable material, attached as back and seat to one another at a 90°-or-slightly-greater angle, with usually the four corners of the hori ...
, probably the first of its kind in Britain. In Bowley's time, however, the LSE statistics group was very small: E. C. Rhodes arrived in 1924 and R. G. D. Allen in 1928. Bowley produced a stream of studies of British economic statistics, beginning in the 1890s with work on trade and on wages and income. His 1900 publication ''Wages in the United Kingdom in the Nineteenth Century'' was created using the unpaid assistance of
Edith Marvin Edith Mary Marvin, born Edith Mary Deverell (29 July 1872 – 20 May 1958) was a British inspector of schools. Life Marvin was born in Attington near Tetsworth in 1872. His parents, Mary Seymour and Alfred Deverell JP were Congregationalists. He ...
when she was a researcher at the
London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 1895 , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
. Proceeding to studies of
national income A variety of measures of national income and output are used in economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumpt ...

national income
in the 1920s and –30s. Specially noteworthy was his collaboration with
Josiah Stamp Josiah Charles Stamp, 1st Baron Stamp, (21 June 1880 – 16 April 1941) was an English industrialist, economist, civil servant, statistician, writer, and banker. He was a director of the Bank of England The Bank of England is the central bank ...
on a comparison of the UK national income in 1911 and 1924. (Official national income statistics date only from the Second World War.) From around 1910 Bowley worked on social statistics as well. In aim, the work was a continuation of such surveys of social conditions as Charles Booth's "Life and Labour of the People in London" (1889–1903) and Seebohm Rowntree's "Poverty, A Study of Town Life" (1901). The methodological innovation was the use of sampling techniques. Bowley gave a detailed exposition of his approach to sampling in a 62-page paper published in 1926. The culmination of Bowley's work on social surveys was the monumental ''New Survey of London Life and Labour.'' Even in the 1930s his research could take a new direction, as when he collaborated with his junior colleague R. G. D. Allen on an econometric study of family expenditure.


Books

Bowley's "Elements of Statistics" is generally regarded as the first English-language
statistics text-book Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statist ...
. It described the techniques of descriptive statistics that would be useful for economists and social sciences, and in the early editions contained little statistical theory. In statistical theory Bowley was not an innovator but drew on the writings of
Karl Pearson Karl Pearson (; born Carl Pearson; 27 March 1857 – 27 April 1936) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics ...

Karl Pearson
, Udny Yule and F. Y. Edgeworth. In the 1930s, Bowley informed
Fisher Fisher is an archaic term for a fisherman, revived as gender-neutral. Fisher, Fishers or The Fisher may also refer to: Places Australia *Division of Fisher, an electoral district in the Australian House of Representatives, in Queensland *Electo ...
that "Professor Edgeworth had written a great deal on a kindred subject" and slapping Neyman down with "I am not at all sure that the 'confidence' n confidence intervalis not a 'confidence trick.'" Bowley's teaching presaged several of the EDA ideas later popularised by
John Tukey John Wilder Tukey (; June 16, 1915 – July 26, 2000) was an American mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ...
, including
stemplot A stem-and-leaf display or stem-and-leaf plot is a device for presenting quantitative data in a information graphics, graphical format, similar to a histogram, to assist in visualizing the shape of a probability distribution, distribution. They e ...
s, decile
boxplot In descriptive statistics, a box plot or boxplot is a method for graphically depicting groups of numerical data through their quartiles. Box plots may also have lines extending from the boxes (''whiskers'') indicating variability outside the upper ...

boxplot
s, the seven-figure summary and
trimean In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more ...
. Bowley's '"The Mathematical Groundwork of Economics'" was a notable attempt to provide the practising economist with the main ideas and techniques of mathematical economics; it was the first book in English of its kind. One of its successes was to bring the
Edgeworth box In economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour ...
to the attention of economists generally. Bowley was so successful that this is often referred to as the "Edgeworth-Bowley box". He also introduced the concept of
conjectural variation In oligopoly theory, conjectural variation is the belief that one firm has an idea about the way its competitors may react if it varies its output or price. The firm forms a conjecture about the variation in the other firm's output that will accompa ...
into the theory of oligopoly in this book.


Honours

Bowley received many honours. In 1922, he became
Fellow of the British Academy Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award An award, sometimes called a distinction, is something given to a recipient as a token of recognition of excellence in a certain field. When the token is a medal, ribbon or other item desi ...
, was awarded a CBE in 1937 and knighted in 1950. He served on the council of the
Royal Economic Society The Royal Economic Society (RES) is a professional association that promotes the study of economic science Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and ...
and was president of the
Econometric Society The Econometric Society is an international society of academic economists interested in applying statistical tools to their field. It is an independent organization with no connections to societies of professional mathematicians or statisticians. ...
1938–9. The
Royal Statistical Society The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is an established statistical society. It has three main roles: a British learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organiza ...
awarded him its
Guy Medal The Guy Medals are awarded by the Royal Statistical Society in three categories; Gold, Silver and Bronze. The Silver and Bronze medals are awarded annually. The Gold Medal was awarded every three years between 1987 and 2011, but is awarded biennia ...
in Gold in 1935 and he served as its president 1938–40.


Personal life

According to Allen and George, "In personality Bowley was somewhat shy and retiring. He did not readily make friends and his close friendship with
Edwin Cannan Edwin Cannan (3 February 1861, Funchal Funchal () is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capital of Portugal's Madeira, Autonomous Region of Madeira, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. The city has a population of 111,892, making it the s ...
over many years was an almost unique experience." They recall an anecdote about an occasion when Bowley and Cannan were cycling with Edgeworth. When Edgeworth wanted to discuss a mathematical question Cannan said, "Bowley, let us go a little faster, Edgeworth cannot talk mathematics at more than eight miles an hour." Bowley married Julia Hilliam in 1904 and the couple had three daughters. His daughter Marian Bowley also had an academic career in economics.


Bowley's law

Bowley formulated Bowley's law, which says that the proportion of
GNP The gross national income (GNI), previously known as gross national product (GNP), is the total domestic and foreign output claimed by residents of a country, consisting of gross domestic product (GDP), plus factor incomes earned by foreign r ...
from labour is constant.


Main publications of A. L. Bowley


''A Short Account of England's Foreign Trade in the Nineteenth Century''
1893. * ''Wages and Income in the United Kingdom Since 1860'', 1900.
''Elements of Statistics''
1901. (4th edition in 1920)
''An Elementary Manual of Statistics''
1910.
''Livelihood and Poverty: a study in the economic conditions of working-class households''
with A.R. Bennett-Hurst, 1915. * ''The Division of the Product of Industry'', 1919 * ''The Mathematical Groundwork of Economics'', 1924.
''Has Poverty Diminished? ''
with M.Hogg, 1925. * Measurement of Precision attained in Sampling, ''Bulletin de l'Institut International de Statistique,''(1926) 22, Suppl. to Book 1, 1–62
Gallica (after p. 451)
* ''The National Income 1924'' with J. Stamp, 1927. * Bilateral Monopoly, 1928, ''Economic Journal. '' * ''F. Y. Edgeworth's Contributions to Mathematical Statistics'', 1928. * ''New Survey of London Life and Labour'', 1930–35. * ''Family Expenditure'' with R.G.D. Allen, 1935. * ''Three Studies in National Income'', 1939.


Discussions

* * W F Maunder and Sir Arthur Lyon Bowley (1869–1957) in '' Studies in the History of Statistics Probability,'' (ed. E S Pearson and M G Kendall) 1970. London: Griffin. *. * Bowley, Arthur Lyon, pp. 277–9 in ''Leading Personalities in Statistical Sciences from the Seventeenth Century to the Present, '' (ed. N. L. Johnson and S. Kotz) 1997. New York: Wiley. Originally published in ''Encyclopedia of Statistical Science. ''


See also

*
Stem-and-leaf display A stem-and-leaf display or stem-and-leaf plot is a device for presenting quantitative data Quantitative research is a research strategy that focuses on quantifying the collection and analysis of data. It is formed from a deductive Deductive ...
attributed to Bowley's work


References


External links


Horizons March 2005: Stats in History—Arthurian LegendBowley Papers at the LSE Archives
The New School entry has a photograph. There is another at
Bowley
on th

page. In the 4th edition of the ''Elements'' (1920) Bowley gave a lot more space to statistical theory. The following excerpt illustrates his approach
Bowley's Pearsonian approach to chi-squared
on th

page. This was written just before Bowley got involved in the controversy between Fisher and Pearson on chi-squared. In the fifth edition (1926) Bowley added a reference to his own contribution. For Bowley's contribution to sampling theory put in historical perspective see
Part D: A Review of Statistical Sampling from Laplace to Neyman
{{DEFAULTSORT:Bowley, Arthur Lyon 1869 births 1957 deaths People from Bristol People educated at Christ's Hospital Alumni of Trinity College, Cambridge English economists English statisticians Commanders of the Order of the British Empire Knights Bachelor Academics of the London School of Economics Fellows of the Econometric Society Presidents of the Econometric Society Presidents of the Royal Statistical Society