The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

British Classical Economics

  • Mark Blaug
Reference work entry


Classical economics is not just a period in the history of economic thought immediately prior to the marginal revolution but involves a distinct approach to economic problems. But endless controversy surrounds the definition of that approach. Indeed, the scope of the science of political economy as conceived in Smith’s The Wealth of Nations was sharply contracted in Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy. Some modern commentators characterize classical economics as surplus theory; others as general equilibrium theory. Economists who are divided in their views will always try to find those views embodied in the writings of the past.


Absolute advantage Austrian economics Babbage C. Bailey S. Balance of payment Blaug M. British classical economics Cairnes J. Capital accumulation Capital–Labour ratio Clark J. B. Classical economics Comparative advantage Corn Laws Corn model Cournot A. Distribution Dupuis A.-J.-E. Eagly R. Exchange value Factor endowments Free banking Free trade General equilibrium theory Gossen H. History of economic thought Hollander S. Increasing returns International trade Theory of Invariable measure of value Jevons W. Joint production Jones R. Keynes J.M. Knight F. Labour theory of value Laissez Faire Lloyd W. Longfield M. Malthus T. Marginal productivity theory Marginal revolution Marshall A. Marx K. McCulloch J. Menger C. Mill J. Mill J. S. Money Natural price Neoclassical economics Neo-Ricardian economics Normal price O’Brien D. Opportunity cost Organic composition of capital (Marx) Petty W. Physiocracy Pigou A. Political economy Population growth Poverty alleviation Preferences Pressure groups Production techniques Productive vs unproductive labour Profit and profit theory Quantity theory of money Quesnay F. Rae J. Rate of profit Reciprocal demand Rent Reserve army of the unemployed Ricardian revolution Ricardo D. Say J.-B. Say’s Law Schumpeter J. Senior N. Smith A. Sowell T. Sraffa P. Standard composite commodity (Sraffa) Static equilibrium analysis Steady-state equilibria Subsistence and subsistence wages Supply and demand Surplus Thornton H. Thünen G. Tooke T. Torrens R. Transformation problem Use Value Utility theories of value Vent-for-surplus doctrine Wages fund doctrine Wakefield E. Walrasian theory of general equilibrium Wicksteed P. 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Blaug
    • 1
  1. 1.