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A transdisciplinary perspective on economic complexity. Marshall's problem revisited

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  • Cassata, Francesco
  • Marchionatti, Roberto

Abstract

“Marshall's problem” consists in finding a way to integrate physics and biology into economics in order to represent a complex economic world. It is widely believed that Alfred Marshall was the first to address the issue, but he failed to integrate the two methodological approaches into economics. In particular the prevailing view is that Marshall was unable to follow through on his declaration that biology is the “Mecca” of economics. This paper reconsiders “Marshall's problem” by focusing on the intellectual connections among Darwin, Babbage and Marshall: it explores the relationship between Marshall's view of complexity as a dialectical mixing of routine and variation and reconstructs the development of a powerful intellectual model that we call the “evolutionary machine”.

Suggested Citation

  • Cassata, Francesco & Marchionatti, Roberto, 2011. "A transdisciplinary perspective on economic complexity. Marshall's problem revisited," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 122-136.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:80:y:2011:i:1:p:122-136 DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.03.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna M. Carabelli & Mario A. Cedrini, 2014. "Keynes's General Theory , Treatise on Money and Tract on Monetary Reform : different theories, same methodological approach?," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 1060-1084.
    2. Antonelli Cristiano & Ferraris Gianluigi, 2012. "Endogenous knowledge externalities: an agent based simulation model where schumpeter meets Marshall," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201202, University of Turin.
    3. Mario A. Cedrini & Roberto Marchionatti, 2017. "On the Theoretical and Practical Relevance of the Concept of Gift to the Development of a Non-imperialist Economics," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 49(4), pages 633-649, December.

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