Advertisement

Economists’ Founding Concerns in the History of Economic Thought

Chapter
  • 372 Downloads

Abstract

The history of economic thought has been one of an evolving methodological foundation for the discipline. In the late eighteenth century, Adam Smith saw “political economy” in broad terms, but mainly concerned with institutions and policies that encouraged maximum national economic growth. In the late nineteenth century, Alfred Marshall added analytical tools, such as supply and demand, but restricted the central concern of the discipline to the “ordinary business of life” and applied narrowly to the “business-like classes.” Lionel Robbins sought in the early-1930s to bring unity to the disparate analyses of economists (following in the methodological footsteps of Phillip Wicksteed who wrote in the early 1900s) by declaring “scarcity” to be the unifying core concern. Gary Becker, George Stigler, and many other economists have since the 1960s argued that economics is a “method of analysis” that can be applied without regard to past disciplinary boundaries.

References

  1. Bastiat, Frederic. 1850. Economic Harmonies, ed. George B. de Huszar, 1996, Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., trans. W. Hayden Boyers, accessed December 22, 2007 from http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basHar2.html.
  2. Becker, Gary S. 1962. Irrational behavior and economic theory. Journal of Political Economy 70 (1, February): 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becker, Gary S. 1963. A reply to Israel Kirzner. Journal of Political Economy 71 (February): 82–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Becker, Gary S. 1976. The Economic Approach to Human Behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bentham, Jeremy. 1781. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907, accessed December 26, 2007 from https://www.econlib.org/library/Bentham/bnthPML1.html.
  6. Clark, Gregory. 2007. A Farewell to Alms: A Brief History of the World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Friedman, Milton. 1953. The Methodology of Positive Economics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Friedman, Milton. 2007. Price Theory: A Provisional Text. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers (first published in 1962).Google Scholar
  9. Hayek, F.A. 1945. The use of knowledge in society. American Economic Review 35 (4, September): 519–530.Google Scholar
  10. Hayek, F.A. 1967. Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kahneman, Daniel. 1994. New challenges to the rationality assumption. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics 150 (1): 18–36.Google Scholar
  12. Kahneman, Daniel., and Amos Tversky. 2000. Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk, as reprinted in Choices, Values, and Frames, ed. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, 17–43. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kirzner, Israel M. 1962. Rational action and economic theory. Journal of Political Economy 70 (4, August): 380–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kirzner, Israel M. 1963. Rejoinder. Journal of Political Economy 71 (August): 82–83.Google Scholar
  15. Malthus, Thomas Rober. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, available online from http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/malthus-an-essay-on-the-principle-of-population-1798-1st-ed.
  16. Mankiw, N. Gregory. 2011. Principles of Economics, 6th ed. New York: Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  17. Marshall, Alfred. 1890. Principles of Economics. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd, 1920, available online from https://www.econlib.org/library/Marshall/marP1.html.
  18. Marx, Karl. 1848. The Communist Manifesto. Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., reissued in 1954.Google Scholar
  19. McConnell, Campbell R. 1960. Elementary Economics: Principles, Problems and Policies. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  20. Mill, John Stuart. 1848. Principles of Political Economy, ed. William James Ashley, 1909: London: Longmans, Green and Co. Available online from https://www.econlib.org/library/Mill/mlP1.html.
  21. Olson, Mancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Ricardo, David. 1821. On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. London: John Murray, 1821, accessed December 20, 2007 from https://www.econlib.org/library/Ricardo/ricP1.html.
  23. Robbins, 1935. An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Misses Institute (first published in 1932 and revised and reissued in 2007).Google Scholar
  24. Samuelson, Paul A. 1948. Economics. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  25. Samuelson, Paul A., and Peter Temin. 1976. Economics, 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  26. Samuelson, Paul A., and William Nordhaus. 2009. Economics, 19th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  27. Skouras, Thanos, George J. Avlonitis, and Kostis A. Indounas. 2005. Economics and marketing on pricing: How and why do they differ. Journal of Product and Brand Management 14 (6): 362–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Smith, Adam. 1759, vol. I of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith. The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982.Google Scholar
  29. Smith, Adam. 1776 (reprinted 1904). An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: Methuen & Co. (available online from the Liberty Fund) http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/smith-aninquiry-into-the-nature-and-causes-of-the-wealth-of-nations-cannan-ed-vol-1.
  30. Thaler, Richard H. 1991. Quasi Rational Economics. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  31. Thaler, Richard H. 1992. The Winner’s Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  32. Thaler, Richard H. 2001. Anomalies. Journal of Economic Perspective 15 (1): 219–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Thaler, Richard., and Cass R. Sunstein. 2008. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Wicksteed, Philip H. 1888. Alphabet of Economic Science. New York: Kelley & Millman, reprinted in 1955.Google Scholar
  35. Wicksteed, Phillip H. 1910. The Commonsense of Political Economy, Including a Study of the Human Basis of Economic Law. London: Macmillan, 1910. Available online from https://oll.libertyfund.org/title/1415.
  36. Wicksteed, Philip H. 1914. The scope and method of political economy in the light of the “marginal” theory of value and of distribution. Economic Journal 24 (93, March): 1–23, presidential address to Section F of the British Association, 1913.Google Scholar
  37. Zak, Paul, and Stephen Knack. 2001. Trust and growth. Economic Journal 111 (470, March): 295–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Paul Merage School of BusinessUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

Personalised recommendations