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Famous Figures and Diagrams in Economics

Edited by the late Mark Blaug, former Professor Emeritus, University of London and Professor Emeritus, University of Buckingham, UK and Peter Lloyd, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, University of Melbourne, Australia
This is a unique account of the role played by 58 figures and diagrams commonly used in economic theory. These cover a large part of mainstream economic analysis, both microeconomics and macroeconomics and also general equilibrium theory.
Extent: 488 pp
Hardback Price: $220.00 Web: $198.00
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84844 160 6
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $65.00 Web: $52.00
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 978 1 84980 315 1
Availability: Out of Stock

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  • eISBN: 978 1 84980 646 6

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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic History
  • History of Economic Thought
This is a unique account of the role played by 58 figures and diagrams commonly used in economic theory. These cover a large part of mainstream economic analysis, both microeconomics and macroeconomics and also general equilibrium theory.

The authoritative contributors have produced a well-considered and definitive selection including some from empirical research such as the Phillips curve, the Kuznets curve and the Lorenz curve. Almost all of them are still found in contemporary textbooks and research. Each entry presents an accurate and concise record of the history of the figure or diagram, including later developments and any controversy that arose in its development. As a whole, the book highlights how the use of geometric methods has played a central part in the development of economic theory and analysis; as a method of discovery, more commonly as a method of exposition and occasionally as a method of proof of propositions in economic theory and analysis.

This highly anticipated book will appeal to theorists in microeconomics or macroeconomics, scholars of economic theory and analysis, as well as students in microeconomics, general equilibrium theory or macroeconomics at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level who want a definitive account of some figure or diagram. Historians of economic thought and methodologists will also find this book an invaluable resource.
‘. . . the book is a marvellous achievement and a major contribution to the history of economic thought. . . The book provides a genuinely interesting perspective on the development of modern economics. Each diagram illustrates a single analytical point, but there is a cumulative logic to the exposition of the various diagrams that reproduce the main turns in the development of modern economic theory. So reading the book cover-to-cover is an excellent way of working through the logic of the discipline. . . Famous Figures and Diagrams in Economics is a major contribution to the history of economic thought and repays close study by anyone who wants to have a better understanding of how economists reason.’
– Daniel Little, Journal of Economic Methodology

‘. . . there is much of interest in this volume. . . The study under review makes for enjoyable reading for those who either have drawn economic diagrams on the blackboard as part of their teaching, or, for that matter, for those who as students recall painful inability to understand the point of the diagram, so carefully constructed on the blackboard by one of their teachers.’
– Peter Groenewegen, History of Economics Review

‘A picture is said to be worth a thousand words. A picture can easily be worth two or three equations, and it is certainly more memorable. I can draw and use an Edgeworth box more quickly than I can write down its formulas. There is a vast amount of economics packed into the 58 diagrams and expert commentaries in this unique book. Take it with you to your favourite desert island. All you need is a sandy beach and a pointed stick.’
– Robert Solow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US

‘This book is a goldmine of information and interpretation for historians of economics, and thoughtful economists of all kinds. The origin and evolution of important figures and diagrams in economics will now be instantly at their fingertips. The authors of the entries are a galaxy of distinguished economists and historians whose accounts can be trusted. One must ask why no one has put together such a collection before.’
– Craufurd Goodwin, Duke University, US

‘Economics relies on verbal reasoning, geometry and formal mathematics. Advances and insights in the subject come in all these ways. This splendid book shows the power of geometric analysis, which I have favoured in my own work, drawing on several famous diagrams that have made their way into the literature. It is a book to be savoured and learnt from.’
– Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia University, US

‘Here is a feast of diagrams, presented by many expert authors in a context of history of thought. It will be very useful for researchers, students and textbook writers.’
– Max Corden, University of Melbourne, Australia

‘Francis Collins oversaw the human genome project. Mark Blaug and Peter Lloyd have done the same for economics, demonstrating that figures and diagrams are the DNA building blocks of the discipline. This book has them all: backward-bending labor supply, cobweb diagram, circular flow, production possibility frontier, Stolper-Samuelson box, IS/LM, the Phillips curve and many more. Each is portrayed, its importance explained, its origin revealed, and the reader often encounters Stigler’s Law of Eponymy (No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer).’
– Kenneth G. Elzinga, University of Virginia, US

‘Both students and professors will welcome this original and unique collection. Analytically tighter and more complete expositions than much existing literature should be very welcome in graduate theory courses. Authors of history of economic thought texts will have to clarify and correct the historical record regarding who said what and when, and both reconfigure the assignment of credit and question use of the term “precursor”: early users did more than hint at the full development; often creating tools.’
– Warren Samuels, Michigan State University, US
Contributors: S. Ashok, R.E. Backhouse, W.J. Baumol, M. Blaug, R. Boyer, L. Cameron, J.S. Chipman, A.J. Cohen, J.S. Cramer, J. Creedy, A.V. Deardorff, R.W. Dimand, A. Dixit, R. Dixon, B.C. Eaton, J. Eichberger, N. Erkal, R. Färe, L. Gangadharan, N. Giocoli, Y. Giraud, S. Grosskopf, H. Haller, D.W. Hands, G.C. Harcourt, T.M. Humphrey, R.W. Jones, N. Kakwani, M. Kemp, J.E. King, A.O. Krueger, D. Laidler, C. Lee, R.G. Lipsey, P. Lloyd, F. Maclachlan, R. Middleton, M. Nerlove, Y.-K. Ng, A. Panagariya, P. Rodenburg, R. Rothschild, M. Schneider, H.-l. Shi, A. Skinner, B.J. Spencer, H. Thompson, J. Whalley, R. Williams, W.C. Woo, A.D. Woodland, W. Young

Mark Blaug and Peter Lloyd


Basic Tools of Demand and Supply Curve Analysis

1. Marshallian Cross Diagrams
Thomas M. Humphrey

2. The Stability of Equilibrium
Mark Blaug

3. Indifference Curves and Isoquants
Mark Blaug and Peter Lloyd

4. The Elasticity of Substitution
Robert Dixon

5. Substitution and Income Effects
Hans Haller

6. Engel Curves
Ross Williams

7. Homothetic Production and Utility Functions
Rolf Färe and Shawna Grosskopf

8. Long-run and Short-run Cost Curves
Fiona Maclachlan

9. The Product Exhaustion Theorem
Cassey Lee

10. Classification of Technical Change
Robert Dixon

11. Nash Equilibrium
Jürgen Eichberger

Welfare Economics

12. Consumer Surplus
Yew-Kwang Ng

13. The Harberger Triangle
Yew-Kwang Ng

14. Community Indifference Curves and the Scitovsky ‘Paradox’
Richard G. Lipsey

15. The Taxation of External Costs
Yew-Kwang Ng

16. Monopoly and Price Discrimination
William J. Baumol

17. Duopoly Reaction Curves
Nicola Giocoli

18. Monopolistic Competition
Andrew Skinner

19. Kinked Demand Curves
R. Rothschild

Special Markets and Topics

20. Backward-bending Labour Supply Curves
John E. King

21. Location Theory: The Contributions of von Thünen and Lösch
B. Curtis Eaton and Richard G. Lipsey

22. Hotelling’s Model of Spatial Competition
Nisvan Erkal

23. Cobweb Diagrams
Marc Nerlove

24. Reswitching and Reversing in Capital Theory
Avi J. Cohen and Geoffrey C. Harcourt

25. The Markowitz Mean-variance Diagram
Fiona Maclachlan

26. Rent-seeking Diagrams
Anne O. Krueger

27. The Logistic Growth Curve
J.S. Cramer

28. Graph Theory and Networks
Cassey Lee


Basic Tools of General Equilibrium Analysis

29. Circular Flow Diagrams
Roger E. Backhouse and Yann Giraud

30. The Unit Simplex
John Whalley

31. The Edgeworth Box
John Creedy

32. The Role of Numbers in Competition
John Creedy

33. Production Possibility Frontiers
Ronald W. Jones

34. The Utility-Possibility Frontier
John S. Chipman

35. The Factor Price Frontier
Alan D. Woodland

36. Pareto Efficiency
Peter Lloyd

37. The Phase Diagram Technique for Analyzing the Stability of Multiple-market Equilibrium
D. Wade Hands

38. The Theory of Second Best and Third Best
Wai Chiu Woo

Open Economies

39. The Offer Curve
Murray Kemp

40. The Stolper-Samuelson Box
Henry Thompson

41. The Lerner Diagram
Alan V. Deardorff

42. The Trade Theory Diagram
Peter Lloyd

43. The Four-quadrant Diagram for the Two-sector Heckscher-Ohlin Model
Arvind Panagariya

44. The Integrated World Equilibrium Diagram
Avinash Dixit

45. The Optimal Tariff
Murray Kemp


Macroeconomic Analysis and Stabilisation

46. Keynesian Income Determination Diagrams
Michael Schneider

47. The IS-LM Diagram
Warren Young

48. The Fleming-Mundell Diagram
Russell Boyer and Warren Young

49. The Aggregate Demand Aggregate Supply Diagram
Richard G. Lipsey

50. The Phillips Curve
Richard G. Lipsey

51. The UV or Beveridge Curve
Peter Rodenburg

52. The Demand Curve for Money
David Laidler

53. Non-neutrality of Money
He-ling Shi

54. The Laffer Curve
Roger Middleton

Growth, Income Distribution and Other Topics

55. Intertemporal Utility Maximization – the Fisher Diagram
Thomas M. Humphrey

56. The Diagrams of the Solow-Swan Growth Model
Barbara J. Spencer and Robert W. Dimand

57. The Lorenz Curve
Nanak Kakwani

58. Kuznets Curves
Lisa Cameron, Lata Gangadharan and Sowmiya Ashok