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Nature humaine et choix rationnel : Pareto contre Walras ?


  • Richard Arena

    (Université Côte d'Azur, France

  • Ludovic Ragni

    (Université Côte d'Azur, France


The article shows that there is a profound contrast between the concepts of economics that Walras and Pareto support. This contrast is based on the way each author views human nature and, from this the pricing mechanisms and forms of rationality they assign to the agents. We show that Walras’ approach to human nature structures the connection he proposes between pure, applied and social economics while Pareto’s leads him to methodologically separate his pure economics from his sociology. According to Walras the starting point of the study of economics is not market exchange between rational individuals as many authors propose, but a specific conception of human nature that promotes a synthesis between pure and social economies. However, we show that Pareto separates pure economics and sociology by means of specific representations of real man and homo œconomicus. These differences imply that Walras and Pareto’s works no longer be related in the same way to the Lausanne School.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Arena & Ludovic Ragni, 2019. "Nature humaine et choix rationnel : Pareto contre Walras ?," GREDEG Working Papers 2019-06, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2019-06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ludovic Ragni, 2011. "La méthode mathématique chez Walras et Cournot : comparaison et enjeux de discorde," Post-Print halshs-00727147, HAL.
    2. Drakopoulos, Stavros A, 1990. "The Implicit Psychology of the Theory of the Rational Consumer: An Interpretation," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(55), pages 182-198, December.
    3. Hagemann Harald, 2019. "Impulses and Propagation Mechanisms in Equilibrium Business Cycles Theories: From Interwar Debates to DSGE “Consensus”," Working Papers halshs-02386344, HAL.
    4. Sen, Amartya, 2005. "Why Exactly Is Commitment Important For Rationality?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 5-14, April.
    5. Donald A. Walker, 1990. "Institutions and Participants in Walras's Model of Oral Pledges Markets," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 41(4), pages 651-668.
    6. Claire Baldin & Ludovic Ragni, 2016. "Theorie parétienne des élites et moment machiavélien," Post-Print halshs-01278139, HAL.
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    More about this item


    Walras; Pareto; Lausanne School; Human Nature; Sociology; Rationality;

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