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Bridging the Natural and the Social: Science and Character in Jevons's Political Economy

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  • White, Michael V

Abstract

A common characterization of the 'marginalist revolution' is that it focused on individuals, depicted economics as the universal application of behavioral laws of choice, and made a clear distinction between the analyses of 'pure' economic theory and economic policy. This characterization effaces a number of important differences between the work of W. Stanley Jevons and later supply and demand theories. Using Jevons's discussion of reductions in working hours to illustrate the analysis, the paper shows how he used the Victorian language of 'civilization' and 'character' to designate class and race behavior in the theory of political economy. Copyright 1994 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • White, Michael V, 1994. "Bridging the Natural and the Social: Science and Character in Jevons's Political Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(3), pages 429-444, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:32:y:1994:i:3:p:429-44
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    Cited by:

    1. Burlando, Roberto & Hey, John D., 1997. "Do Anglo-Saxons free-ride more?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 41-60, April.

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