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Hostage to Fortune: Edward Chamberlin and the Reception of The Theory of Monopolistic Competition


  • Nahid Aslanbeigui
  • Guy Oakes


In February 1933, Edward Chamberlin published The Theory of Monopolistic Competition. Joan Robinson's The Economics of Imperfect Competition followed in the spring. A disciplinary consensus quickly formed, holding that the two books represented simultaneous discoveries of the same theoretical ideas and covered the same ground. Chamberlin was adamant in insisting on fundamental differences between their positions. Convinced of the superior explanatory power of his work, he devoted much of his post-Monopolistic Competition career laboring to reverse the disciplinary consensus. We analyze the main tactics he employed in attempting to gain control of the reception of his theory and consider why they failed.

Suggested Citation

  • Nahid Aslanbeigui & Guy Oakes, 2011. "Hostage to Fortune: Edward Chamberlin and the Reception of The Theory of Monopolistic Competition," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 471-512, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:43:y:2011:i:3:p:471-512

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    Cited by:

    1. Signorino, Rodolfo, 2012. "Edward H. Chamberlin (1899 − 1967)," MPRA Paper 39213, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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