Paul A. Samuelson and the Neoclassical Synthesis

27 Pages Posted: 24 May 2016

See all articles by Roger Backhouse

Roger Backhouse

University of Birmingham - Department of Economics; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE)

Date Written: January 1, 2014

Abstract

This paper explores Samuelson's concept of the neoclassical synthesis. It is argued that his two main books hold out different types of synthesis. Foundations offered a synthesis based on common mathematical structures and presages the attempts to synthesize economics by Don Patinkin and Robert Lucas. In contrast, the neoclassical synthesis of his introductory textbook, proposes a more limited synthesis, based solely on policy. It linked the theory of income determination not with mathematical microeconomics based on optimization but with microeconomics rooted in interwar institutionalism, involving oligopoly and non-maximising behaviour.

Keywords: Samuelson, Neoclassical Synthesis, Institutionalism, Microfoundations

JEL Classification: B20, B30

Suggested Citation

Backhouse, Roger, Paul A. Samuelson and the Neoclassical Synthesis (January 1, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2782538 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2782538

Roger Backhouse (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham - Department of Economics ( email )

Economics Department
Birmingham, B15 2TT
United Kingdom

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
EIPE Office, Room H5-23
3000 Dr Rotterdam
Netherlands

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