Demand and Need

  • Della Adam Nevitt


Almost 200 years elapsed between the publication of the first of the above quotations and the second; during that period economics has greatly increased our understanding of the theory of choice and the relationship which exists between concepts of need, necessities and demands. The works of economists have not, however, been fully absorbed into the literature on social policy and administration, and the quotation from The Fifth Social Service owes more to early pre-scientific works on economics than to the work of great nineteenth-century authors such as Jevons,1 Wicksell,2 Marshall3 or Wicksteed.4 Twentieth-century economists working in the field of demand theory have been almost completely ignored in the emphasis given by social administrators to ‘law’, ‘regulation’, ‘policy’ and ‘custom’.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    William Stanley Jevons, Political Economy (London: Macmillan, 1878).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. G. K. Wicksell, Lectures in Political Economy English trans. with introduction by L. C. Robbins (London: Routledge, 1934).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, 1st edn (London: Macmillan, 1890).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Philip H. Wicksteed, The Common Sense of Political Economy (London: Macmillan, 1910).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    For elegant statements of the revealed-preference approach to demand theory, see Geoffrey P. E. Clarkson, The Theory of Consumer Demand: A Critical Appraisal (London: Gower Press, 1963);Google Scholar
  6. or Robert Dorfman, The Price System (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964) chs 1 and 3;Google Scholar
  7. see also P. A. Samuelson, Foundations of Economic Analysis (Harvard University Press, 1947) ch. 5;Google Scholar
  8. and Sir John R. Hicks, Revision of Demand Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956). For correct usage of the term ‘demand’ see Leslie L. Roos Jr, ‘Quasi-Experiments and Environmental Policy’, Policy Sciences, vol. 6. no. 3 (September 1975) where studies of the demand for various underpriced goods and of programmes for changing usage of a collective good are suggested; see also James M. Buchanan, ‘Public Finance and Public Choice’, National Tax Journal, vol. XXVIII, no. 4 (Dec 1975).Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    Alan Williams and Robert Anderson, Efficiency in the Social Services (Oxford: Blackwell, 1975); see especially chs 4, 5 and 6.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    J. Bradshaw, ‘A Taxonomy of Social Need’, in Problems and Progress in Medical Care, ed. Gordon McLachlan, 7th series (Oxford University Press, 1972).Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    Alan Williams, ‘“Need” as a Demand Concept’, in Economic Policies and Social Goals, ed. A. J. Culyer (London: Martin Robertson, 1974).Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    P. Townsend et al., The Fifth Social Service (London: Fabian Society, 1970) p. 9.Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    D. F. J. Piachaud, Do the Poor Pay More? Poverty Research Series no. 3 (London: Child Poverty Action Group, 1974).Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    John L. Nicholson, ‘The Distribution and Redistribution of Income in the United Kingdom’, in Poverty, Inequality and Class Structure, ed. Dorothy Wedderburn (Cambridge University Press, 1974).Google Scholar
  15. 13.
    Lionel C. Robbins, An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science (London: Macmillan, 1932);Google Scholar
  16. see also Fritz Machlup, ‘Essay on the Universal Bogey’, in Essays in Honour of Lord Robbins, ed. M. Peston and B. Corry (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1972).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Helmuth Heisler, John Carrier, Bleddyn Davies, Neil Fraser, Howard Jones, Peter Kaim-Caudle, Ian Kendall, Thomas McPherson, Della Adam Nevitt, Muriel Nissel, Barbara Rodgers, J. D. Stewart, George F. Thomason 1977

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  • Della Adam Nevitt

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