Robert Solow's Non-Walrasian Conception of Economics

History of Political Economy 52 (5): 827–86. https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-8671843

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 Last revised: 9 Oct 2021

See all articles by Matthieu Ballandonne

Matthieu Ballandonne

Ecole Superieure Des Sciences Commerciales D'Angers (ESSCA)

Goulven Rubin

University of Lille - LEM- CNRS (UMR 9221)

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

The neoclassical synthesis has been defined as a bridge between Keynesian theory and Walrasian general equilibrium theory. The aim of this article is to show that founders of the neoclassical synthesis were not homogenous in their appraisal of the importance of Walrasian theory. To do so, we focus on Robert Solow’s contributions as a case study and examine the history of his lifelong criticism of what he called “axiomatics.” According to Solow, the axiomatic approach aims at founding economics on one general and complex model based on first principles or axioms. In contrast, Solow advocated the use of a diversity of simple and partial models, which have practical utility, are realistic in their crucial assumptions, consider institutions and the evolving nature of the economy, and rely on common sense microfoundations. We conclude by suggesting that Solow can be characterized as Cournotian

Keywords: Friedman; Marshall; MIT; Solow; Walras

JEL Classification: B22; B31; B41

Suggested Citation

Ballandonne, Matthieu and Rubin, Goulven, Robert Solow's Non-Walrasian Conception of Economics (2020). History of Political Economy 52 (5): 827–86. https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-8671843, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2996433 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2996433

Matthieu Ballandonne (Contact Author)

Ecole Superieure Des Sciences Commerciales D'Angers (ESSCA) ( email )

1 rue Joseph Lakanal
BP 40348
Angers Cedex, 49003
France

Goulven Rubin

University of Lille - LEM- CNRS (UMR 9221) ( email )

1, place Déliot
BP 629
Lille, 59024
France

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