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Hermann, Rau, Mangoldt : les origines de la fonction d'offre de marché en Allemagne (1830 - 1870)

  • Paola Tubaro

Hermann, Rau, Mangoldt : les origines de la fonction d'offre de marchéen Allemagne (1830 ? 1870), by Paola Tubaro The paper traces the pre-marginalist origins of supply functions, paying special attention to the contributions of Hermann, Rau, et Mangoldt. With the help of algebra and geometry, they interpreted the meaning of classical economists' notions and analyses in a new way, thus discovering the modern concept of a supply function. Despite their shortcomings, these early contributions to mathematical economics did participate in the evolution of economic ideas, in that they questioned the classical approach and facilitated the advent of marginalism. While classical views lead to the conclusion that costs of production depend on highly heterogeneous phenomena, Hermann's formulae and Rau and Mangoldt's diagrams imply a unifying and symmetric interpretation of the behaviour of production costs. In this sense, they anticipated Marshall's belief that one single law accounts for any shape of the supply curve. Journal of Economic Literature classification numbers : B13, C60, D20.

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Article provided by De Boeck Université in its journal Recherches économiques de Louvain.

Volume (Year): 71 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 223-243

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Handle: RePEc:cai:reldbu:rel_712_0223
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