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Sraffa's mathematical economics: a constructive interpretation


  • K. Vela Velupillai


The claim in this paper is that Sraffa employed a rigorous logic of mathematical reasoning in his book, Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities (PCC), in such a way that the existence proofs were constructive. This is the kind of mathematics that was prevalent at the beginning of the nineteenth century, which was dominated by the concrete, the constructive and the algorithmic. It is, therefore, completely consistent with the economics of the nineteenth century, which was the fulcrum around which the economics of PCC was conceived.

Suggested Citation

  • K. Vela Velupillai, 2008. "Sraffa's mathematical economics: a constructive interpretation," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 325-342.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:15:y:2008:i:4:p:325-342 DOI: 10.1080/13501780802112858

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert A. Mundell & Paul J. Zak, 2005. "Introduction," Chapters,in: International Monetary Policy after the Euro, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    3. Bénédicte Vidaillet & V. D'Estaintot & P. Abécassis, 2005. "Introduction," Post-Print hal-00287137, HAL.
    4. Schlag, Karl H., 1998. "Why Imitate, and If So, How?, : A Boundedly Rational Approach to Multi-armed Bandits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 130-156, January.
    5. Karl H. Schlag & Dieter Balkenborg, 2001. "Evolutionarily stable sets," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 29(4), pages 571-595.
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    Cited by:

    1. Birolo, Adriano, 2010. "The path of a scholar," MPRA Paper 30734, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. repec:wsi:nmncxx:v:08:y:2012:i:01:n:s1793005712400017 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    existence proofs; constructive mathematics; algorithmic mathematics; mathematical economics; mathematical methodology; B23; B24; B31; B41; B51;

    JEL classification:

    • B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
    • B24 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist; Scraffian
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian


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