The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Hotelling, Harold (1895–1973)

  • Kenneth J. Arrow
Reference work entry


Harold Hotelling was devoted mainly to mathematical statistics but had a deep influence on economics. His famous 1929 paper on stability in competition introduced the notions of locational equilibrium in duopoly, with implications for political competition. His application of the calculus of variations to the allocation of a fixed stock over time formed the basis of subsequent work on the subject. In his 1938 presidential address to the Econometric Society he argued that marginal-cost pricing was necessary for Pareto optimality even for decreasing-cost industries, and showed that suitable line integrals were a generalization of consumers’ and producers’ surplus for many commodities.


Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei American Economic Association Arrow, K. J. Calculus of variations Competition Confidence intervals Consumer surplus Depreciation Dummy variables Dupuit, A.-J.-L. Econometric society Econometrics Exhaustible resources Game theory Hotelling, H. Institute of Mathematical Statistics Local equilibrium Marginal cost pricing Market socialism Mathematical economics Mathematical statistics National Academy of Sciences Political competition Producer surplus Royal Statistical Society Simultaneous equations models Statistics and economics Subgame perfection Welfare economics 

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  1. d’Aspremont, C., Gabszewicz, J.-J. and Thisse, J. 1979. On Hotelling’s ‘Stability in Competition’. Econometrica 47: 1145–50.Google Scholar
  2. Dasgupta, P., and E. Maskin. 1986. The existence of equilibrium in discontinuous economic games, II: Applications. Review of Economic Studies 53: 27–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth J. Arrow
    • 1
  1. 1.