How Influential Was Mechanics In The Development Of Neoclassical Economics? A Small Example Of A Large Question
It is well known that classical mechanics played a significant role in the thought of several major economists in the neoclassical tradition from the 1860s to the 1910s. Less well studied are the particular parts or features of mechanics that exercised this influence, or the depth and extent of the impact. After outlining the main traditions of mechanics and the calculus, and describing types of analogy between theories in general, I review some main pertinent features of the work of eight neoclassical economists from the 1830s to the 1910s. I argue that the influence took various forms but that in practice it was modest. Then I briefly describe a fresh set of possible influences with the development of dynamical systems in the period 1920–1950, where again the role of mechanics was limited. I end by raising a large question: does economics need some mathematics designed for its own purposes rather than that traditionally obtained by analogizing from mechanics and physics?
Volume (Year): 32 (2010)
Issue (Month): 04 (December)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_HET
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jhisec:v:32:y:2010:i:04:p:531-581_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.