General equilibrium theory behind the iron curtain: the case of Victor Polterovich
AbstractIn this paper we address the story of developments in general equilibrium theory (GET) in the USSR during the 1970s through the lens of a single biography. The Soviet advances in mathematical economics, only fragmentarily known in the West, give an occasion to reflect on the extension of the Walrasian paradigm to non-market societies, as well as on the ideological effects of GET and its interpretations in a Soviet context. Our contribution is focused on the development of general equilibrium theorizing in the work of Victor Meerovich Polterovich (b. 1937) who has been one of the leading figures in mathematical economics and general equilibrium theory in the USSR and post-Soviet Russia. His papers on the abstract models of exchange, dynamic general equilibrium and optimal growth theory, excess demand correspondences, monotonicity of demand functions, and disequilibrium theory were for the large part published in English and gained considerable attention within the field. We reconstruct the political and ideological basis of the general equilibrium concept and show how abstract mathematical models reflected the discursive shift from optimal centralized planning to various forms of decentralization. We argue that the Soviet work on general equilibrium was a part of the global development of mathematical economics but was not integrated into it institutionally
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Research University Higher School of Economics in its series HSE Working papers with number WP BRP 14/HUM/2013.
Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in WP BRP Series: Humanities / HUM, February 2013, pages 1-27
general equilibrium theory; mathematical economics; history of recent economics; Soviet economics; decentralization; planning;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B16 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Quantitative and Mathematical
- B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
- B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
- B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-11-29 (All new papers)
- NEP-CIS-2013-11-29 (Confederation of Independent States)
- NEP-HPE-2013-11-29 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-TRA-2013-11-29 (Transition Economics)
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