The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Equilibrium (Development of the Concept)

  • Murray Milgate
Reference work entry


From what appears to have been the first use of the term in economics by James Steuart in 1769, down to the present day, equilibrium analysis (together with its derivative, disequilibrium analysis) has been the foundation upon which economic theory has been able to build up its not inconsiderable claims to ‘scientific’ status. Yet despite the persistent use of the concept by economists for over 200 years, its meaning and role have undergone some quite profound modifications over that period.


Ceteris paribus Equilibrium Expectations Game theory General equilibrium Intertemporal equilibrium Long-run equilibrium Natural and normal conditions Partial equilibrium Short-run equilibrium Stationary state Steuart, J. Temporary equilibrium 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Murray Milgate
    • 1
  1. 1.