IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mil/wpdepa/2006-31.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Walras and Pareto on the meaning of the solution concept in General Equilibrium Theory

Author

Listed:
  • Franco DONZELLI

    ()

Abstract

The notion of solution plays a crucial role in the conceptual system of Léon Walras, the founder of General Equilibrium Theory (GET). In this paper, after introducing the two solution concepts employed by Walras in the development of his version of GET, respectively called the “theoretical” and the “practical” solution, we discuss the problems such peculiar conception gives rise to, as well as the attempts Walras makes to dodge them. In particular, after showing how Walras tries to connect his two solution concepts by means of the well-known tâtonnement construct, we explain why Walras’s attempts turn out to be defective and elucidate the negative effects that this deficiency exerts on his overall theoretical system, as expressed in the various editions of the Eléments d’économie politique pure. Then we examine the stance taken by Vilfredo Pareto, Walras’s immediate successor and co-founder of GET, as regards the issue of the solvability of general equilibrium models. After explaining why Pareto substantially neglects Walras’s tâtonnement construct and, as a consequence, the “practical” solution concept as well, we discuss the dramatic evolution of Pareto’s ideas about the computability of economic equilibrium, over the period ranging from the publication of the Cours d’économie politique to the appearance of the Manuel d’économie politique, showing how his mature positions on this issue, as can be found expressed in the Manuel and later writings, significantly affect some later interpretations of the scope and significance of GET, such as Hayek’s

Suggested Citation

  • Franco DONZELLI, 2006. "Walras and Pareto on the meaning of the solution concept in General Equilibrium Theory," Departmental Working Papers 2006-31, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2006-31
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://wp.demm.unimi.it/files/wp/2006/DEMM-2006_031wp.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Scarf, Herbert E., 1993. "The computation of equilibrium prices: An exposition," Handbook of Mathematical Economics,in: K. J. Arrow & M.D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Economics, edition 4, volume 2, chapter 21, pages 1007-1061 Elsevier.
    2. F. Donzelli, 1997. "Pareto's Mechanical Dream," Departmental Working Papers 1997-07, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. D. Wade Hands, 2012. "The Rise and Fall of Walrasian Microeconomics: The Keynesian Effect," Chapters,in: Microfoundations Reconsidered, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Marco Dardi & Alberto Zanni, 2010. "Pareto’s ‘Third Way’ between Marshall and Walras," Chapters,in: The Impact of Alfred Marshall’s Ideas, chapter 23 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Walras; Pareto; solution; tatonnement; equilibrium existence; equilibrium computability;

    JEL classification:

    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C62 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Existence and Stability Conditions of Equilibrium
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • D50 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2006-31. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (DEMM Working Papers). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/damilit.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.