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The Institutionalists’ Reaction to Chamberlin’s 'Theory of Monopolistic Competition'


  • Luca Fiorito



Edwin Chamberlin's The Theory of Monopolistic competition is often described as containing omportant traces of institutionalist influence. This is also confimred by Chamberlin himself who, repeadetly, referred to the work of Veblen, and John Maurice Clark among his inspirational sources. The aim of this paper is to analyse the institutionalist rection to the publication of the Theory of Monopolistic Competition. What will be argued is that the institutionalist response to Chamberlin was a mixed one, and involved some substantial criticisms of his analysis of market structures both on methodological and theoretical grounds. The paper is organized as follows. The first section presents a sketch of the main theoretical implications contained in The Theory of Monopolistic Competition. The second section analyses the general aspects of the institutionalist reaction to Chamberlin. The third and fourth sections deal with the more theoretical aspects of the institutionalist criticism of Chamberlin. The final section presents a conclusion

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Fiorito, 2009. "The Institutionalists’ Reaction to Chamberlin’s 'Theory of Monopolistic Competition'," Department of Economics University of Siena 560, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:560

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blaug,Mark, 1997. "Economic Theory in Retrospect," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521577014, April.
    2. J. K. Galbraith, 1936. "Monopoly Power and Price Rigidities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 456-475.
    3. Morris A. Copeland, 1940. "Competing Products and Monopolistic Competition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-35.
    4. Pier Francesco Asso & Luca Fiorito, 2008. "Was Frank Knight an Institutionalist?," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 59-77.
    5. A. B. Wolfe, 1924. ""Competitive" Costs and the Rent of Business Ability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 39-69.
    6. Frederick C. Mills, 1936. "Prices in Recession and Recovery: A Survey of Recent Changes," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number mill36-1, June.
    7. repec:mes:jeciss:v:28:y:1994:i:1:p:173-186 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Axel Leijonhufvud, 1983. "What Would Keynes Have Thought of Rational Expectations?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 299, UCLA Department of Economics.
    9. Rutherford, Malcolm, 2000. "Understanding Institutional Economics: 1918–1929," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(03), pages 277-308, September.
    10. Edward H. Chamberlin, 1961. "The Origin and Early Development of Monopolistic Competition Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 515-543.
    11. Rutherford, Malcolm & Desroches, C. Tyler, 2008. "The Institutionalist Reaction To Keynesian Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 29-48, March.
    12. Morris A. Copeland, 1934. "The Theory of Monopolistic Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42, pages 531-531.
    13. R. A. Gordon, 1940. "Ownership and Compensation as Incentives to Corporation Executives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 455-473.
    14. repec:mes:jeciss:v:8:y:1974:i:4:p:877-896 is not listed on IDEAS
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    JEL classification:

    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School

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