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On the Right Side for the Wrong Reason : Friedman on the Marshall-Walras divide

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  • Michel, DE VROEY

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

Abstract

The aim of this article is to assess Friedman’s claim, put forward in his 1949 article on the Marshallian demand curve, that there is a methodological divide between the Marshallian and Walrasian approaches. Friedman’s argument will be critically examined and compared with the views he expressed in other articles written around thesame time. My evaluation will lead to a mixed conclusion. Positively, Friedman must be hailed for having brought the Marshall-Walras divide to the forefront. In a more critical vein, I will suggest, first, that Friedman’s argumentation in the 1949 paper is definitely wanting. A better account of the differences between Marshall and Walras is to be found in his 1955 review of Jaffé’s traslation of Walras’s Eléments d’économie pure. Second, I will claim that Friedman’s real target in his 1949 article was imperfect competition theory à la Chamberlin and Keynesianism à la Lange, which he wrongly associated with Walrasian theory. Third, present-day proponents of the divide will be criticised for having naively echoed Friedman’s argumentation instead of having tried to improve it. The paper finishes with an outline of the criteria that should be used for giving te Marshall-Walras divide a stronger grounding.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel, DE VROEY, 2004. "On the Right Side for the Wrong Reason : Friedman on the Marshall-Walras divide," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2004015, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2004015
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    File URL: http://sites.uclouvain.be/econ/DP/IRES/2004-15.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Leijonhufvud, Axel, 1984. "Hicks on time and money," Discussion Papers, Series I 182, University of Konstanz, Department of Economics.
    2. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1993. "Temporary general equilibrium theory," Handbook of Mathematical Economics,in: K. J. Arrow & M.D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Economics, edition 4, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 879-922 Elsevier.
    3. De Vroey, Michel, 2001. "Price Rigidity and Market-Clearing: A Conceptual Clarification," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(5), pages 639-655, September.
    4. Michel De Vroey, 2000. "Marshall on equilibrium and time: a reconstruction," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 245-269.
    5. Hicks, John, 1977. "Economic Perspectives: Further Essays on Money and Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284079.
    6. 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.
    7. Hahn, Frank, 1990. "John Hicks the Theorist," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 539-549, June.
    8. Leijonhufvud, Axel, 1984. "Hicks on Time and Money," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(0), pages 26-46, Supplemen.
    9. Donald A. Walker (ed.), 2000. "Equilibrium," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 1585.
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    Cited by:

    1. De Vroey, Michel, 2011. "Lucas on the relationship between theory and ideology," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 5, pages 1-39.
    2. Michel, DE VROEY, 2007. "Marshallian and Walrasian Theory, Complementary or Alternative Approaches ? The Views in Presence," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2007002, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Friedma; Marshall; Walras;

    JEL classification:

    • B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • D50 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - General

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