Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Adam Smith in Love

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Abstract

Who were Adam Smith’s lost loves? I put Smith’s love life into historical context by briefly describing the strict ecclesiastical regulation of sex as well as the expansive jurisdiction of parish churches over people’s sex lives in the Scotland of his youth. Next, I reassemble all the available evidence, draw inferences, and present some conjectures. It is reasonable to conclude that Smith had at least two romantic relationships, possibly more, though we know very little about the women or the precise nature of these relationships.

Podcast related to this article: Enrique Guerra-Pujol on Adam Smith’s Love Life (EJW Audio, March 2021).