History and equilibrium: A partial defense of equilibrium economics

Journal of Economic Methodology 11 (3):291-305 (2004)


This paper responds to the argument, made by many heterodox economists, that equilibrium theory should be abandoned in favor of theories that pay more attention to history. It considers some of the main ways in which the concept of equilibrium has been understood in economics, and the reasons why there has been confusion in discussions of equilibrium. The conclusion is drawn that the focus should be less on equilibrium as a concept than on equilibrium analysis as a method, and limited defense of this method is offered.

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Roger E. Backhouse
Erasmus University Rotterdam

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