IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Origins and Development of the Trend towards Value-Free Economics

  • Drakopoulos, Stavros A.

The vast majority of pre-Classical and of many Classical economists thought that it was natural to incorporate value judgments and norms in their economic reasoning. However, there was a gradual dominance of the idea of a neutral or value-free economic science which gained momentum with the second Marginalist generation. More specifically, clear signs of this tendency can be found in the works of Sidgwick, Pareto and Fisher. The paper examines the process of this change and provides possible justifications. In particular, the work discusses this trend with reference to the growing influence of classical physics, and positivist philosophies of science. Consequently, the paper shows that there was a gradual broadening of the meaning of the term “value judgments” to include mental states and motivations. These developments are essential in the understanding of the formation of the standard economic theory and especially of microeconomic theory.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 15245.

in new window

Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of the History of Economic Thought 2.19(1997): pp. 286-300
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15245
Contact details of provider: Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Leamer, Edward E, 1983. "Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 31-43, March.
  2. Thomas Mayer, 1992. "Truth Versus Precision In Economics," Books, Edward Elgar, number 307.
  3. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1983. "A Rationale for Preference Reversal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 428-32, June.
  4. Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 1989. "The Historical Perspective of the Problem of Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," MPRA Paper 28996, University Library of Munich, Germany.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15245. 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: (Ekkehart Schlicht)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.