• R. D. Collison Black
Part of the The New Palgrave book series (NPA)


Utility is a term which has a long history in connection with the attempts of philosophers and political economists to explain the phenomenon of value. It has most frequently been given the connotation of ‘desiredness’, or the capacity of a good or service to satisfy a want, of whatever kind. Its use with that meaning can be traced back at least to Gershom Carmichael’s 1724 edition of Pufendorf s De Officio Hominis et Civis Iuxta Legem Naturalem, and arguably came down to him through the medieval schoolmen from Aristotle’s Politics.


Political Economy Marginal Utility Utility Theory Total Utility Classical Economist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bowley, M. 1973. Utility, the pardox of value and ‘all that’ and classical economics. In M. Bowley, Studies in the History of Economic Theory Before 1870, London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dupuit, A.J. 1844. On the measurement of the utility of public works. Annales des Ponts et Chaussées, 2nd Series, Vol. VIII. Translated in International Economic Papers No. 2, 1952, London: Macmillan, 83–110.Google Scholar
  3. Edgeworth, F.Y. 1899. Utility. In Dictionary of Political Economy, Vol. III, ed, R.H.I. Palgrave, London: Macmillan, 602.Google Scholar
  4. Gossen, H.H. 1854. Entwicklung der Gesetze des menschlichen Verkehrs und der daraus fliessenden Regeln für menschliches Handeln. Brunswick : Viewig.Google Scholar
  5. Translated as The Laws of Human Relations and the Rules of Human Action Derived Therefrom, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1983.Google Scholar
  6. Hicks, J.R. 1956. A Revision of Demand Theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  7. Hicks, J.R. 1976. ‘Revolutions’ in economics. In Method and Appraisal in Economics, ed. S.J. Latsis, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Hicks, J.R. and Allen, R.G.D. 1934. A reconsideration of the theory of value. Economica, NS l, 52–76; 196–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Howey, R.S. 1960. The Rise of the Marginal Utility School, 1870–1889. Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press.Google Scholar
  10. Jaffé, W. 1973. Léon Walras’s role in the ‘marginal revolution’ of the 1870s. In The Marginal Revolution in Economics, ed. R.D. Collison Black, A.W. Coats and CD. Goodwin, Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Jevons, W.S. 1871. The Theory of Political Economy. London: Macmillan; 5th edn, New York: A.M. Kelley, 1965.Google Scholar
  12. Kauder, E. 1965. A History of Marginal Utility Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Lloyd, W.F. 1833. A lecture on the notion of value, delivered before the University of Oxford in Michaelmas Term 1833. Reprinted in Economic History, supplement to the Economic Journal, No. 2, (1927), 168–83.Google Scholar
  14. Marshall, A. 1890. Principles of Economics. 9th (Variorum) edn, ed. C.W. Guillebaud, London and New York: Macmillan, 1961.Google Scholar
  15. Menger, C. 1871. Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre. Trans, by J. Dingwall and B.F. Hoselitz as Principles of Economics, Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1951.Google Scholar
  16. Mill, J.S. 1848. Principles of Political Economy. Ed. W.J. Ashley, London: Longmans, 1909; New York: A.M. Kelley, 1961.Google Scholar
  17. O’Brien, D.P. 1975. The Classical Economists. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  18. Pigou, A.C. 1912. Wealth and Welfare.Google Scholar
  19. Expanded and republished as The Economics of Welfare, London: Macmillan, 1920; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1952.Google Scholar
  20. Ricardo, D. 1817. The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. Vol. I of The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. P. Sraffa, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1951; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  21. Senior, N.W. 1836. An Outline of the Science of Political Economy. London: W. Clowes. Reprinted, London: Allen&Unwin, 1938.Google Scholar
  22. Smith, A. 1776. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Ed. R.H.Campbell and A.S. Skinner, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976.Google Scholar
  23. Stigler, G.J. 1950. The development of utility theory. Pts I and II. Journal of Political Economy 58, 307–27; 373–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Reprinted in G.J. Stigler, Essays in the History of Economics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  25. Viner, J. 1925. The utility concept in value theory and its critics. Journal of Political Economy 33, 369–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Reprinted in J. Viner, The Long View and the Short, Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1958.Google Scholar
  27. Walras, L. 1874. Eléments d’ économie politique pure. Lausanne: Corbaz et Cie. Trans, by W. Jaffé as Elements of Pure Economics, London: Allen & Unwin, 1954; Homewood, Ill.: R.D. Irwin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. D. Collison Black

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations