Jevons, Jenkin, and Walras on demand-and-supply analysis in the theory of exchange
AbstractIn his economic writings Jevons insists on the allegedly fundamental role played by the so-called "laws of supply and demand" in his theory of exchange; yet no demand-and-supply analysis is actually employed in deriving such theory, as developed in Chapter 4 of The Theory of Political Economy (TPE). This is all the more puzzling in the light of the following two facts: 1) in his 1868 correspondence with Jevons, Fleeming Jenkin provides a complete geometrical solution of the exchange equilibrium problem based on the use of demand and supply curves, but his suggestion is wholly neglected by Jevons in the first edition of TPE (1871); 2) in his 1874 open letter to Jevons, Walras explicitly criticizes his correspondent for his defective treatment of the "laws of supply and demand", suggesting an alternative analytical solution of the exchange problem based on the use of demand and supply functions; yet Jevons entirely disregards Walras's remarks in preparing the second edition of TPE (1879). This paper compares Jevons's, Jenkin's and Walras's approaches to the exchange equilibrium problem, explaining the analytical and epistemological reasons that underlie Jevons's neglect of his correspondents' criticism and advice.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2009-39.
Date of creation: 25 Aug 2009
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Jevons; Jenkin; Walras demand; supply; theory of exchange;
Other versions of this item:
- Franco Donzelli, 2009. "Jevons, Jenkin, and Walras on demand-and-supply analysis in the theory of exchange," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1086, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
- B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Stockholm School)
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- B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
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- D50 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - General
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