Monday, January 10, 2011

The Economist's Toolbox

"Kirzner in that 1963 work, and then again in his more developed theoretical exposition in Competition and Entrepreneurship (1973), was trying to intellectually square his understanding of mainstream neoclassical price theory, and his understanding of Misesian price theory. In short, he did not reject mainstream price theory, he accepted it but also accepted its own internal critique (provided by Arrow, but also pointed out earlier by individuals such as Joan Robinson) and sought to salvage the theory by way of Mises. Arrow had asked how can price ever change to clear markets when all the actors are themselves price takers; and Robinson years earlier had pointed out that they only to get into equilibrium under standard assumptions was to already be in equilibrium. Kirzner provides an answer with only slight modification of the assumptions to the neoclassical model."
Boettke's summary of the critiques of Arrow and of Robinson may help some of my students, especially those in Intermediate Microeconomics last semester, understand my discussions of the equilibrium nature of demand and supply, why I emphasized the nature of comparative static analysis, and why I ended the semester with a discussion of entrepreneurship as a significant missing link in understanding the real and emergent economy.

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