Thematic issue: The legacy of Corrado Gini in population studies

Some un-noticed insights in Gini’s cyclical theory of populations

Piero Manfredi, Giuseppe Annibale Micheli


Is Gini’s cyclical theory only a mess of ideas and data haphazardly borrowed from different disciplines in a naïve search for a “Grand Theory”, or is it an initial attempt to develop a general scheme of population dynamics, in the epoch when Population Mathematics was just taking off? Departing from the severe criticisms levelled at Gini’s approach, we point out that – hidden in Gini’s narrative codes – lie three important legacies, anticipating both the “Cybernetic revolution” and various turning points in the social sciences of the 1960s. Among the latter we include the “method of models”, strictly affine with abductive syllogism, the concept of “structural” interdependence as the trigger of population dynamics, and the dual use - for real populations as well as for interacting ‘factors’- of the concept of  “structure”.

Piero MANFREDI, Professor of Demography, Department of Economics & Management, University of Pisa, Italy. E-mail:

Giuseppe Annibale MICHELI, Professor of Demography, Department of Sociology, University of Milano Bicocca, Italy. E-mail:


“Cyclical” Theory of Populations; Method of "Schemes"; Abduction; Structural interdependence; Species vs Factors.

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ISSN: 2035-5556

Reg. Tribunale di Roma n. 3321/54