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‘Supply and Demand’

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Although the notion of supply and demand in the context of market price determination potentially goes back to the economic writings of the Greek philosophers, the terminology itself is of more recent origin. It was not given any prominence in a chapter title or table of contents until well into the second decade of the 19th century (see Groenewegen 1973), though during the previous two decades the phrase was used in the literature with increasing frequency. Its first use in English writings appears to have occurred in 1767 (see Thweatt 1983). The discussion here is confined to English usage: French, Italian and German developments are omitted. This unfortunately means ignoring the interesting distinction made in German by Marx between ‘Zufuhr und Nachfrage’ (supply and demand) and ‘Angebot und Nachfrage’ (offer and demand) with its analytical connotations for more modern developments in economics (see Schefold 1981).


  • Cournot, A. A.
  • Hutcheson, F.
  • Law, J.
  • Longfield, M.
  • Malthus
  • Marcet, J.
  • Mill, J. S.
  • Ricardo, D.
  • Steuart, J.
  • Supply and demand
  • Torrens, R.
  • West, E.
  • Whewell, W.

JEL Classifications

  • A1

This chapter was originally published in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd edition, 2008. Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume

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Groenewegen, P. (2008). ‘Supply and Demand’. In: The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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  • Online ISBN: 978-1-349-95121-5

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Chapter History

  1. Latest

    ‘Supply and Demand’
    20 March 2017


  2. Original

    Supply and Demand
    22 November 2016