The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • George J. Stigler
Reference work entry


Competition arises whenever two or more parties strive for something that all cannot obtain. The classical economists felt no need for a very precise definition of competition because they viewed monopoly as highly exceptional. In the late 19th century competition became the subject of intense analysis; the concept of perfect competition emerged as the standard model of economic theory and as first approximation in the concrete studies of applied microeconomics. The limitations of the concept in dealing with conditions of persistent and imperfectly predicted change will be removed only when economics possesses a developed theory of change.


Bilateral monopoly Clark, J. Cliffe Leslie, T. Coalitions Comparative statics Competition Competitive equilibrium Contracting Cournot, A. Creative destruction Darwin, C. Demsetz, H. Edgeworth, F. Entrepreneurship Factor price equalization theorem Fisher, I. Industrial organization Innovation Jenkin, F. Jevons, W. Joint action Kirzner, I. Knight, F. Labour markets Laissez faire Law of indifference Law of one price Law of supply and demand Long-run equilibrium Malthus, T. Market price Markets Marshall, A. Mathematics and economics Mill, J. S. Monopoly Oligopoly Pareto, V. Perfect competition Perfect information Perfect markets Pigou, A. Profit-maximixing behaviour Rate of return Recontracting Resource mobility Schumpeter, J. Second best Senior, N. Smith, A. Stigler, G. J. Thornton, H. Walras, L. Workable competition 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • George J. Stigler
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