Birthplace: Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Location of death: Radebeul, Saxony, Germany
Cause of death: unspecified
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Engel's Law
German political economist and statistician, was born in Dresden on the 26th of March 1821. He studied at the famous mining academy of Freiberg, in Saxony, and on completing his curriculum travelled in Germany and France. Immediately after the revolution of 1848 he was attached to the royal commission in Saxony appointed to determine the relations between trade and labor. In 1850 he was directed by the government to assist in the organization of the German Industrial Exhibition of Leipzig, the first of its kind. The success which crowned his efforts was so great that in 1854 he was induced to enter the government service, as chief of the newly instituted statistical department. He retired, however, from the office in 1858. He founded at Dresden the first Hypotheken-Versicherungsgesellschaft (Mortgage Insurance Society), and as a result of the success of his work was summoned in 1860 to Berlin as director of the statistical department, in succession to Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Dieterici (1790-1859). In his new office he made himself a name of worldwide reputation. Raised to the rank of Geheimer Regierungsrat, he retired in 1882 and lived henceforward in Radebeul near Dresden, where he died on the 8th of December 1896. Engel was a voluminous writer on the subjects with which his name is connected, but his statistical papers are mostly published in the periodicals which he himself established, viz. Preuss. Statistik (in 1861); Zeitschrift des Statistischen Bureaus, and Zeitschrift des Statistichen Bureaus des Königreichs Sachsen. Among his lasting contributions to economics is "Engel's Law", that those with lower incomes spend a higher percentage of their means on food.
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