IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mil/wpdepa/2011-23.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Negishi on Edgeworth on Jevons’s law of indifference, Walras’s equilibrium, and the role of large numbers: a critical assessment

Author

Listed:
  • Franco DONZELLI

    ()

Abstract

In developing their pure-exchange equilibrium models, Jevons (1871), Walras (1874-77), and Edgeworth (1881) make use of some version of a law, called law of indifference (or principle of uniformity) by Jevons and Edgeworth and often referred to as the law of one price in connection with Walrasian economics. Edgeworth, in particular, shares with Jevons the idea that the law of indifference must be regarded as an equilibrium property; unlike his predecessor, however, he denies the validity of the law in all economies with a finite number of traders: for him, price uniformity can only emerge and a Jevonsian or Walrasian or competitive equilibrium can only be established when the traders’ number grows unboundedly large. About one century later, Negishi (1982) resumes the time-honoured discussion about the law, striving to prove that, contrary to Edgeworth’s original conjecture, a competitive equilibrium can be attained even in small economies, provided that the true driving force underlying Jevons’s law of indifference, namely, its implicit arbitrage mechanism, be allowed to operate and carry its effects through. In this paper, after reconstructing Jevons’s, Walras’s, and Edgeworth’s respective positions, we critically discuss Negishi’s critique of Edgeworth’s stance on Jevons’s law of indifference, Walras’s equilibrium, and the role of large numbers, showing that his central claim is unsubstantiated.

Suggested Citation

  • Franco DONZELLI, 2011. "Negishi on Edgeworth on Jevons’s law of indifference, Walras’s equilibrium, and the role of large numbers: a critical assessment," Departmental Working Papers 2011-23, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2011-23
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://wp.demm.unimi.it/files/wp/2011/DEMM-2011_023wp.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Franco Donzelli, 2007. "Equilibrium and Tâtonnement in Walras's Eléments," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 15(3), pages 85-138.
    2. Nicholas Kaldor, 1934. "A Classificatory Note on the Determinateness of Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 122-136.
    3. Allan M. Feldman, 1973. "Bilateral Trading Processes, Pairwise Optimally, and Pareto Optimality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(4), pages 463-473.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ; Walras; Edgeworth; law of indifference; equilibrium; large economies; arbitrage;

    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
    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • D41 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Perfect Competition
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies

    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:2011-23. 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.