Walras, Marie Esprit Leon (1834-1910)

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

A mining engineer by training, he accepted the offer of a newly created Chair of Economics in the Faculty of Law at Lausanne in 1870. He held this post until he was succeeded by Pareto upon his retirement in 1892. His publications include Elements d’economie Politique Pure (1874–7), Etudes d ‘economie Sociale (1896) and Etudes d ‘economie Politique Appliquee (1898). One of the three economists to propound a marginal utility theory in the 1870s, he set out the theory of diminishing marginal utility and showed how prices at which commodities exchanged are determined by the relative marginal utilities of the people taking part in the transaction. He also constructed a mathematical model of general equilibrium as a system of simultaneous equations in which he tried to show that all prices and quantities are uniquely determined. This is regarded as one of the foremost achievements in mathematical economics, of which Walras is considered the founder.

Reference: The Penguin Dictionary of Economics, 3rd edt.

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