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Marshall versus Walras on Equilibrium and Time


  • Michel De Vroey

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Department of Economics)


The aim of this paper is to ponder upon Marshall’s conception of equilibrium and to confront it withWalras’s. In a first section, I present a rational reconstruction of the Marshallian conception. In contrast to its standard tripartite classification interpretation, I claim that this conception is based on two interlinked equilibrium concepts, normal equilibrium and market equilibrium. Several features are brought out : (a) this conception is based on what I call the ‘period of analysis’ hypothesis; (b) in this conception disequilibrium states have an effective; (c) the notion of long period equilirium then turns out to have a most elusive meaning; In a second section, I compare Marshall and Walras on equilibrium and time. Whenever the comparison bears on their production models, a sharp contrast emerges in particular with regard to the meaning and possibility of disequilibrim. When Walras credit model is taken into account the result is more complicated. An important difference is still present which can be traced back to the fact that when it comes to time the Marshallian appproach privileges the duration aspect while dodging the irreversibility or arrow of time aspect while the contrary is true for the Walrasian approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel De Vroey, 2005. "Marshall versus Walras on Equilibrium and Time," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005047, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvec:2005047

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Negishi,Takashi, 1985. "Economic Theories in a Non-Walrasian Tradition," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521259675.
    2. anonymous, 1992. "Interview with Milton Friedman," The Region, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue june.
    3. Michel De Vroey, 2007. "Did The Market‐Clearing Postulate Pre‐Exist New Classical Economics? The Case Of Marshallian Theory," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 75(3), pages 328-348, June.
    4. Michel De Vroey, 2003. "Perfect information a la Walras versus perfect information a la Marshall," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(4), pages 465-492.
    5. Ragnar Frisch, 1950. "Alfred Marshall's Theory of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 495-524.
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    More about this item


    Marshall; Walras; equilbrium;

    JEL classification:

    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General

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