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How to Compute Equilibrium Prices in 1891

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Abstract

Irving Fisher's Ph.D. thesis, submitted to Yale University in 1891, contains a fully articulated general equilibrium model presented with the broad scope and formal mathematical clarity associated with Walras and his successors. In addition, Fisher presents a remarkable hydraulic apparatus for calculating equilibrium prices and the resulting distribution of society's endowments among the agents in the economy. In this paper we provide an analytical description of Fisher's apparatus, and report the results of simulating the mechanical/hydraulic "machine," illustrating the ability of the apparatus to "compute" equilibrium prices and also to find multiple equilibria.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d12b/d1272.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1272.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1272

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Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/
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Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

Related research

Keywords: Fisher; general equilibrium; hydraulic apparatus; equilibrium prices; computable general equilibrium; algorithms;

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Cited by:
  1. Giocoli, Nicola, 2005. "Mathematics as the role model for neoclassical economics (Blanqui Lecture)," MPRA Paper 33806, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. K. Vela Velupillai, 2010. "Introduction to the Phillips Machine and the Analogue Computing Tradition in Economics," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1008, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.
  3. K. Vela Velupillai & Stefano Zambelli, 2010. "Computation in Economics," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1001, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.
  4. Chuangyin Dang & Yinyu Ye & Zhisu Zhu, 2011. "An interior-point path-following algorithm for computing a Leontief economy equilibrium," Computational Optimization and Applications, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 223-236, October.
  5. Jain, Kamal & Vazirani, Vijay V., 2010. "Eisenberg-Gale markets: Algorithms and game-theoretic properties," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 84-106, September.
  6. K. Vela Velupillai, 2011. "The Phillips Machine, The Analogue Computing Traditoin in Economics and Computability," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1112, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.
  7. Bruno Codenotti & Kasturi Varadarajan, 2005. "Market Equilibrium in Exchange Economies with Some Families of Concave Utility Functions," Computational Economics 0503001, EconWPA.

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