Hans Peter (Wirtschaftswissenschaftler)

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Hans Peter (* 17 May 1898 in Raguhn; † 24 June 1959 in Tübingen) was a German economist.


After his Abitur at the humanistic Gymnasium Hammonense, which he took in 1917 together with Joachim von Spindler, Hans Peter studied mathematics, philosophy and national economics from 1918, primarily with Leonard Nelson in Göttingen and with Robert Wilbrandt in Tübingen, where he received his doctorate in 1921 with the dissertation “Grundsätzliches zu den Problemen des Armenrechts vom Standpunkt der Fries’schen Schule” by Ludwig von Köhler. From 1925 to 1927, he took a teaching position at the Nuremberg School of Economics and worked with Eugen Altschul, the director of the Frankfurt Institute for Business Cycle Research. During this time Peter was a member of the SPD.

In 1928 Peter was able to habilitate in Tübingen with the thesis Kritisches zur mathematischen Behandlung der Werttheorie für Volkswirtschaftslehre. Here his scientific discussions with his friend Erich Preiser on problems of circular flow theory became significant. In 1933 his venia legendi was extended to include statistics.

Peter’s university career was interrupted because he engaged in a professional controversy with the National Socialist Göttingen economics lecturer Klaus-Wilhelm Rath over theory orientation, alleged “racial and ethnic” foundations, and the need for exact mathematization of economics, which caused him to lose his assistantship and Privatdozentur in late 1938 because the Nazi Lecturers’ Association blocked him. At the instigation of Ministerialrat Paul Josten, however, he was hired by the Reich Ministry of Economics in 1939. From 1940, at the request of Robert Ley, he did not move to a university, but to the “Arbeitswissenschaftliches Institut” AWI of the DAF[1]a subsidiary organization of the NSDAP. At the end of 1940 he took over the management of Heinrich von Stackelberg’s economic theory department until it was discontinued in 1944. Here he was the superior of Leonhard Miksch and Woldemar Koch. In 1940 he joined the NSDAP in order, by his own admission, to further his career. After proving himself at the AWI, Peter succeeded in obtaining an adjunct professorship in Tübingen after all. The previously defamed mathematical methods proved to be indispensable for the tasks of the AWI.[2] At the AWI he participated in the development of concepts for the economic exploitation of the conquered eastern territories. There are clearly anti-Semitic statements by Peter from this time.

After the war, Peter was able to activate his contacts with Erich Preiser and Gerhard Weisser and, as the French zonal representative for southern Württemberg, to take part in the expert conference on basic questions of economic guidance and economic planning held in Hamburg on 21 and 22 June 1946. Here he advocated a planned economic policy. In 1947 Peter was appointed associate professor of economics at the University of Tübingen, and in 1953 full professor. There he founded the “Econometric Working Group” in 1953.[3]


In 1956 he was awarded Fellowship of the Econometric Society of which he had been a member since 1935.


  • Harald Hagemann:Peter, Hans. In: New German Biography (NDB). Vol. 20, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-428-00201-6, p. 233 f. (Digitalisat).
  • Helmut Marcon and Heinrich Strecker: Article 68 Ferdinand Albert Hans (eigtl. Johannes) Peter. In: 200 Years of Economics and Political Science at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. Life and Work of the Professors. Volume I. Steiner, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-515-06657-8, pp. 509-515.


  1. Karl Heinz Roth: Intelligenz und Sozialpolitik im “Dritten Reich”. Eine methodisch-historische Studie am Beispiel des Arbeitswissenschaftlichen Instituts der Deutschen Arbeitsfront. Saur, Munich 1993 ISBN 3111999882 p. 36
  2. Andrea Albrecht: “Wissenschaftliches Rüstzeug”. Zur Produktion volkswirtschaftlichen Wissens unter den Bedingungen nationalsozialistischer Herrschaft am Beispiel von Hans Peter (1898-1959), 2010(PDF)
  3. Stock signature: UAT 189/2602, 189/2593, Ökonometrische Arbeitsgemeinschaft/Institut für angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (Econometric Working Group/Institute for Applied Economic Research): 1953-1962