Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Equilibrium Theory

  • Pasquale L. ScandizzoEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_35


Equilibrium is a key concept of modern science, from classical mechanics to biology, so that its importance for economics should not be a surprise. More surprising is perhaps its central role in the tentative transition of economics from an essentially institutional set of disciplines to a unified branch of modern science, based on a rigorously axiomatic system. The main attempt for such a transition, which has as protagonists several Nobel prizes, was consumed in the 1950s, in an atmosphere first of elation and then of disillusion that appears very similar to that experienced 20 years earlier by mathematicians because of the failure of the Hilbert unification program. In spite of the somewhat spectacular nature of both successes and failures of its mathematical theory, however, general equilibrium has a central role in the history of modern economics that goes much beyond its formal treatment. This role is inextricably related to the notion of the market and is perhaps the primary constituents of the eclectic nature and vitality of contemporary economics.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEIS (Centre for International Economic Studies)University of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly