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Publications [#345541] of Steven G. Medema

Journal Articles

  1. Backhouse, RE; Medema, SG, Defining economics: The Long Road to Acceptance of the Robbins Definition, Economica, vol. 76 no. SUPPL.1 (January, 2009), pp. 805-820 [doi]
    (last updated on 2021/06/16)

    Abstract:
    Robbins' Essay gave economics a definition that came to dominate the professional literature. This definition laid a foundation that could be seen as justifying both the narrowing of economic theory to the theory of constrained maximization or rational choice and economists' ventures into other social science fields. Though often presented as self-evidently correct, both the definition itself and the developments that it has been used to support were keenly contested. This paper traces the reception, diffusion and contesting of the Robbins definition, arguing that this process took around three decades and that even then there was still significant dissent. © The London School of Economics and Political Science 2009.


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