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W.E. Johnson’s 1913 Paper and the Question of His Knowledge of Pareto

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  • Ivan Moscati

    (Bocconi University - IEP)

Abstract

In 1913, the Cambridge logician W.E. Johnson published a famous article on demand theory in the Economic Journal. Although Johnson’s treatment of the subject strongly resembles the analysis set forth by Pareto in the Manual of Political Economy, Johnson does not cite the Italian economist. This has aroused a long-standing debate about Johnson’s actual acquaintance with Pareto’s works, but the debated point has never been thoroughly investigated. The present paper addresses the question of Johnson’s knowledgeof Pareto both from an analytical and historical viewpoint, by examining Johnson’s life in the Cambridge environment and his available unpublished papers. Even though the new evidence gathered gives some weight to the thesis that Johnson could not have been unaware of Pareto’s Manual, it cannot exclude the possibility that the logician wrote his paper autonomously.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivan Moscati, 2005. "W.E. Johnson’s 1913 Paper and the Question of His Knowledge of Pareto," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0506004, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmh:0506004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Luigino Bruni, 2002. "Vilfredo Pareto and the Birth of Modern Microeconomics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2238.
    2. George J. Stigler, 1950. "The Development of Utility Theory. II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 373-373.
    3. R. G. D. Allen, 1934. "The Nature of Indifference Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 110-121.
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    Cited by:

    1. Felix Kubler & Larry Selden & Xiao Wei, 2014. "When Is a Risky Asset "Urgently Needed"?," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 131-162, May.

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    Keywords

    Johnson; Pareto; Cambridge School; Consumer Theory; Complementarity;

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • 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

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