On the Right Side for the Wrong Reason : Friedman on the Marshall-Walras divide
The aim of this article is to assess Friedmanâ€™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. Friedmanâ€™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 Friedmanâ€™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 JaffÃ©â€™s traslation of Walrasâ€™s ElÃ©ments dâ€™Ã©conomie pure. Second, I will claim that Friedmanâ€™s real target in his 1949 article was imperfect competition theory Ã la Chamberlin and Keynesianism Ã la Lange, which he wrongly associated with Walrasian theory. Third, present-day proponents of the divide will be criticised for having naively echoed Friedmanâ€™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.
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1997010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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