The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Paradoxes and Anomalies

  • N. De Marchi
Reference work entry


Paradox originally meant contrary to accepted opinion. In logic something more precise is usually intended. A paradox is involved, for example, if we are led to a contradiction by sound reasoning. Economists on the whole seem to have stayed closer to the original sense. We can use this fact to claim that there is ground for treating economists’ paradoxes simply as puzzling outcomes. There have been rhetorical appeals to ‘paradox’, as we shall see; but there are also numerous examples of substantive puzzles. They are to be expected as the limits to existing ways of explaining are explored. This usage has the advantage therefore of allowing us to treat paradoxes as a normal aspect of ongoing inquiry, and it shifts the focus of interest in them away from a status as intellectual curiosities to a status as stimulant to further research.


Allais paradox Anomalies Arrow’s theorem Capital reversal Falsificationism Gibson paradox Giffen goods Giffen paradox Kuhn, T. S. Leontief paradox Mill, J. S. Paradox of thrift Paradoxes and anomalies Parametric paradox Popper, K. Preference reversal paradox Private vices, public virtues Social choice St Petersburg paradox Transitivity Voting paradoxes Water–diamonds paradox 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. De Marchi
    • 1
  1. 1.