The concept of efficiency has been a fundamental one in economics for at least a hundred years. Historically it is of course most closely associated with the work of Pareto, Since I am not an expert on bibliographical matters I will make no attempt at a scholarly survey of the subject but will content myself with a rather subjective perhaps even personal view of a small part of the “modern” development. I should first say that when I talk about efficiency I will mean simply the problem of finding a maximal element of some partially ordered set. Thus, efficiency is synonomous in my usage with Pareto optimality.
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