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Una larga polémica: el tâtonnement walrasiano


  • Julio Segura Sánchez

    () (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)


This article summarizes the original formulation of Walras’s tâtonnement —just for the cases of the theories of exchange and production— as it was first developed in the different editions of the Éléments d’économie politique pure. The article also surveys critically the most relevant reinterpretations from Bertrand and Edgeworth to nowadays. The main conclusions are: (1) Walras was fully aware of the false trade problem since the first edition but he did not find an adequate formulation until the fourth one; (2) Walras’s tâtonnement process did not try to describe how markets actually operate but to provide an analytical and abstract tool to deal with the law of the establishment of commodity prices in a competitive economy; (3) the walrasian tâtonnement was on purpose a static device and (4) Walras did not demonstrate tâtonnement’ convergence but he pointed toward the kind of conditions needed for it.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio Segura Sánchez, 2005. "Una larga polémica: el tâtonnement walrasiano," Investigaciones de Historia Económica (IHE) Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica, vol. 2, pages 75-104.
  • Handle: RePEc:ahe:invest:v:2:y:2005:p:75-104

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    More about this item


    Tâtonnement; Recontracting; Stability; False trade;

    JEL classification:

    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals


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