IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Competition and equilibrium: Attilio da Empoli’s innovative approach

Listed author(s):
  • Massimo Di Matteo


Registered author(s):

    Attilio da Empoli (1904-48) is a relatively unknown Italian economist who for various reasons, included a premature death, is not recognized as an innovative scholar. One of the main preoccupation of da Empoli’s scientific research was to analize and refine the concept of equilibrium. In the paper I review two main attempts in this direction elaborated in books and papers mostly in Italian (or in a not easily accessible book). The first concerns the introduction of the concept of ultramarginal cost to complement Marshall’s analysis. I show that da Empoli is a forerunner of several concepts to be introduced later, such as kinked demand curve, entry preventing price, limit price, etc. In particular I compare da Empoli’s analysis with Sylos Labini-Modigliani’s theory. After this work da Empoli continued his research and, in the context of a discussion about the theory of international trade, came across a difficulty with the Marshallian analysis of short and long periods. In the second part of the paper I review the discussion that took place in the Rivista Italiana di Scienze Economiche stressing three aspects. First, the analysis was not confined to the comparison of two equilibrium positions (as traditionally made in the pure theory of trade) but it was investigated how the costs that the economy incurs in moving from free trade to autarky may modify some traditional results. Secondly, a link can be established between the concept of ultramarginal cost and the analysis of “costi intermedi” put forward by Borgatta and Mazzei. Thirdly, the analysis of those costs calls into question the problem of time and the different definitions of equilibrium according to the temporal dimension involved. Da Empoli spotted a contradiction in the definitions of short run equilibrium that Marshall gave in his Principles and, on the basis also of the most recent literature on the subject, an interpretation of his position that leads to a rejection of the concept of long run stationary equilibrium will be proposed.

    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:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena in its series Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena with number 0810.

    in new window

    Date of creation: Oct 2010
    Handle: RePEc:usi:depfid:0810
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Piazza San Francesco 7, 53100 Siena

    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    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:usi:depfid:0810. 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: (Carlo Zappia)

    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.