The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Wage Fund Doctrine

  • C. A. Blyth
Reference work entry


A central part of classical analysis and closely related to the advances theory of capital, this doctrine lost support in the 1870s because of its association with unacceptable ideas on wages and trade unions. This loss was reinforced by J.S. Mill’s authoritative ‘recantation’. However, the doctrine was reaffirmed by Jevons and Böhm-Bawerk and survived at a high level of abstraction in neoclassical capital and production theory. This essay starts with the classical statement of J.S. Mill (1848), notices the recantation in 1869, and then looks both backwards to the eighteenth-century origins of the theory, and forwards to its post-classical developments.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Blyth
    • 1
  1. 1.