Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume II

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume II

Schools of Thought in Economics

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume II contains entries on the major schools of economic thought and analysis. These schools differ with regard to their 'vision' of the working of the economic system, the major forces and interactions that shape its path, and the policy recommendations proposed. At any moment of time, several such schools typically compete with one another, striving for dominance within the economic and political discourse. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.

Chapter 1: General introduction

Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought


The past is never dead. It’s not even past. (William Faulkner). The aim of this Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis is to provide a succinct overview of the development of economics since its systematic inception up until today. The Handbook has three volumes. Volume I deals with Great Economists since Petty and Boisguilbert. It provides short essays in biography of some of the most important economists in what is known as the “Western World”. Volume II deals with Schools of Thought in Economics. A school is defined in terms of the analytical method(s) used, the approach chosen in tackling the problem(s) at hand, the results derived and the policy conclusions inferred. Volume III contains summary accounts of Developments in Major Fields of Economics reflecting the division of labour within the discipline. There are different ways of approaching the history of economic thought. The focus of these volumes is on economic theories: their formation, including their philosophical and historical underpinnings, their conclusiveness and place within the field, and their possible use in formulating economic policies. We draw attention to those economists and their doctrines that we regard as especially significant. It hardly needs to be said that our choice unavoidably reflects a subjective element. We would have liked to include the portraits of several more important thinkers, but space constraints prevented us from doing so. The same applies cum grano salis to the schools of thought and developments in major fields covered.