Schumpeter and the Roots of Methodological Individualism

19 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2015

See all articles by Andy Denis

Andy Denis

City, University of London

Date Written: January 4, 2015


"Methodological individualism" (MI) was first used in English in a 1909 paper by Joseph Schumpeter. MI is often invoked as a fundamental description of the methodology both of neoclassical and Austrian economics, as well as of other approaches. However, the methodologies of those to whom the theoretical practice of MI is ascribed differ profoundly on the status of the individual, some adopting an atomistic and others a more organicist standpoint. Considering the contributions of Joseph Schumpeter, the paper finds that he recommends a highly atomistic approach.

Keywords: methodological individualism, Schumpeter, atomism

JEL Classification: B41, B13

Suggested Citation

Denis, Andy, Schumpeter and the Roots of Methodological Individualism (January 4, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

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