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An early mathematical presentation of consumer's surplus


  • Yeung-Nan Shieh

    () (Department of Economics, San Jose State University)


This paper shows the first presentation of consumer's surplus as a definite integral is in Launhardt''s 1885 masterpiece, Mathematische Begrundung Der Volkswirtschaftslehre. In chapter 32, Launhardt applied integral calculus to derive the consumer''s surplus of a decrease in the freight rate for each consumer at a market point and for all consumers in the whole market area. Launhardt''s analysis is typically reproduced in the modern literature on non-spatial and spatial economics without any acknowledgement of Launhardt. Launhardt''s name deserves to be mentioned alongside with Dupuit and Marhall as an early anticipator of many key elements in the theory of consumer''s surplus.

Suggested Citation

  • Yeung-Nan Shieh, 2005. "An early mathematical presentation of consumer's surplus," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 2(1), pages 1-5.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-05b10002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Greenhut,Melvin L. & Norman,George & Hung,Chao-Shun, 1987. "The Economics of Imperfect Competition," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521315647, March.
    2. Holahan, William L, 1975. "The Welfare Effects of Spatial Price Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 498-503, June.
    3. Greenhut,Melvin L. & Norman,George & Hung,Chao-Shun, 1987. "The Economics of Imperfect Competition," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521305525, March.
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    Consumer's Surplus;

    JEL classification:

    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • C0 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General


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