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The Trade-Off between Rigor and Relevance: Sraffian Economics as a Case in Point

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  • Mark Blaug

Abstract

Piero Sraffa published Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities in 1960, and this enigmatic little book invited explanations of its meaning, particularly as its subtitle, Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory, held out hopes of an ambitious research program. In the almost half-century since its publication, it has attracted a small following, particularly in Europe, but it has failed to make much of an impact on American academic economics. This is odd because Sraffian economics in many ways satisfies the relentless concern of mainstream American economics with mathematical rigor. As a species of general equilibrium theory, Sraffian economics is indeed rigoros but it appears to be irrelevant to the sort of issues that concern modern economists.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Blaug, 2009. "The Trade-Off between Rigor and Relevance: Sraffian Economics as a Case in Point," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 219-247, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:41:y:2009:i:2:p:219-247
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John S.L. McCombie, 2011. "'Cantabrigian Economics' and the aggregate production function," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 8(1), pages 165-182.
    2. Heinz D. Kurz & Neri Salvadori, 2011. "In Favor of Rigor and Relevance: A Reply to Mark Blaug," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 607-616, Fall.
    3. Marcel Boumans, 2013. "An unrepentant Lakatosian," Chapters,in: Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes, chapter 13, pages 177-190 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. repec:bla:pacecr:v:22:y:2017:i:2:p:167-177 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Andrea Salanti, 2013. "Between the Scylla of Whig history and the Charybdis of methodological vacuum," Chapters,in: Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes, chapter 14, pages 191-207 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Stirati, Antonella, 2014. "Real wages in the business cycle: an unresolved conflict between theory and facts in mainstream macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 53743, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Roger E. Backhouse, 2013. "Understanding Mark Blaug's attitude towards Sraffian economics," Chapters,in: Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes, chapter 11, pages 146-158 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Antonella Stirati, 2016. "Real wages in the business cycle and the theory of income distribution: an unresolved conflict between theory and facts in mainstream macroeconomics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(2), pages 639-661.
    9. Jesus Felipe & John S.L. McCombie, 2013. "The Aggregate Production Function and the Measurement of Technical Change," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1975.
    10. Pier Luigi Porta, 2013. "What remains of Sraffa's economics," Working Papers 242, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised May 2013.
    11. Kurz, Heinz D., 2018. "Stigler on Ricardo," Centro Sraffa Working Papers CSWP27, Centro di Ricerche e Documentazione "Piero Sraffa".
    12. Richard G. Lipsey, 2013. "Some contentious issues in theory and policy in memory of Mark Blaug," Chapters,in: Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes, chapter 6, pages 31-62 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Thiemann, Matthias & Aldegwy, Mohamed & Ibrocevic, Edin, 2016. "Understanding the shift from micro to macro-prudential thinking: A discursive network analysis," SAFE Working Paper Series 136, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    14. Aldegwy, Mohamed & Thiemann, Matthias, 2016. "How economics got it wrong: Formalism, equilibrium modelling and pseudo-optimization in banking regulatory studies," SAFE Working Paper Series 138, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    15. Kemp-Benedict, Eric, 2014. "A Kaleckian Model with Intermediate Goods," MPRA Paper 57076, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    Piero Sraffa;

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