The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Anthony Brewer
Reference work entry


The surplus produced by an economy, in the sense discussed here, is its output over and above the necessary subsistence of the labour force as well as other costs. This concept has a long history in economics, with the focus sometimes on the uses of the surplus for luxury consumption, state spending, or new investment, and sometimes on income distribution – if workers are paid a subsistence wage then the surplus accrues to non-wage earners.


Aggregate demand Baran, P. A. Cantillon, R. Capital accumulation Classical economics Excess saving Hobson, J. A. Hume, D. Imperialism Labour theory of value Luxuries Marx, K. H. Natural price Necessities neo-Ricardian economics Net product Petty, W. Physiocracy Price of production Profit and profit theory Quesnay, F. Rent Ricardian distribution theory Ricardo, D. Sraffa, P. Stationary state Subsistence Surplus Surplus value Tableau économique Turgot, A. R. J. Unemployment Value von Neumann, J 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Brewer
    • 1
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