The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Standard Commodity

  • John Eatwell
Reference work entry


Piero Sraffa developed the device of a ‘standard commodity’ subsequent to the formulation of the basic propositions presented in his Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities. The device is not used to prove that the relationship between prices and distribution may be determined from the classical data of size and composition of output, conditions of reproduction and an exogeneously given distributive variable (the real wage or the rate of profit), but rather to illustrate and clarify the form of that relationship. It is therefore an ancilliary device, a hilfskonstruktion, designed to ‘reveal what otherwise might be hidden’.

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  1. Garegnani, P. 1960. II Capitale nelle teorie della distribuzione. Milan: Giuffrè.Google Scholar
  2. Newman, P. 1962. Production of commodities by means of commodities. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Volkswirtschaft und Statistik 98: 58–75.Google Scholar
  3. Schefold, B. 1971. Theorie der Kuppelproduktion. PhD. Basel, privately printed.Google Scholar
  4. Sraffa, P. 1960. Production of commodities by means of commodities: Prelude to a critique of economic theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Eatwell
    • 1
  1. 1.