The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

General Equilibrium (New Developments)

  • William Zame
Reference work entry


General equilibrium theory is the theory of mass markets. The foundations of general equilibrium theory were laid in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Walras and Edgeworth. The modern formulation was conceived in the 1950s by Arrow, Debreu and McKenzie, who also established the fundamental results: existence of competitive equilibrium, Pareto optimality of equilibrium allocations (the First Welfare Theorem), and supportability of Pareto optimal allocations as equilibria with transfers (the Second Welfare Theorem). The ideas of general equilibrium theory are widely used in models of markets of all kinds, including in finance, international trade and macroeconomics.


Adverse selection Aggregate excess demand function Arrow–Debreu model of general equilibrium Asymmetric information Bargaining Commodity space Competitive equilibrium Convexity Core convergence Core equivalence Default Degree theory Edgeworth, F. Y. Efficient markets hypothesis Equity premium Existence of equilibrium General equilibrium Implicit function theorem Incentive- compatible core Incomplete markets Kakutani fixed point theorem Law of demand Lipschitz functions Market power Moral hazard Multiple equilibria Perfect competition Pooling Private core Private information Rational expectations equilibrium Revealed preference Sard’s theorem Separation theorem Tâtonnement Transferable utility Transversality conditions Uniqueness of equilibrium Walras’s Law Walrasian expectations equilibrium 

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Authors and Affiliations

  • William Zame
    • 1
  1. 1.