Colquhoun, Patrick (kōhōnˈ) [key], 1745–1820, British economist and statistician, b. Scotland. Active in civic affairs in Glasgow (where he founded the chamber of commerce) and London, he became known for his Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis (1795, 7th ed. 1806), written from his experience as a police magistrate. The most noted of his works is the Treatise on the Population, Wealth, and Resources of the British Empire (1814), in which he set forth statistical estimates of the distribution of national income. His figures, demonstrating the poverty of the working classes, long influenced social and economic reformers.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.