Studies on Firms, Markets and Networks
Chapter 5: Marshall on Marketing
5.1 INTRODUCTION The present fragmentation of social science was institutionalized at the end of the nineteenth century through the establishment of professional bodies for the different social science disciplines. Alfred Marshall – the subject of this chapter – played a leading role in institutionalizing the economics profession in the UK. Yet Marshall continued to view economics as an integral part of social science rather than as a subject to be divorced from other social sciences. Unlike some of his contemporaries, he played down the use of mathematics for expository purposes, and emphasized biological rather than physical analogies in economics, thereby highlighting the underlying unity rather than the separability of the social sciences. Marshall wrote for the ordinary ‘working man’, as well as for his fellow economists, and sought to make his economics relevant to the issues of the time. Many workers of his time were familiar with the growth of the department store within the retail sector, and with the replacement of small business by big business in some important manufacturing industries. The process of concentration responsible for these trends was driven by mergers, acquisitions, and the formation of business federations, such as the Bradford Dyers’ Association and the Calico Printers’ Association. The logic of these combinations lay in economies of scale. According to Marshall, however, it was often economics of scale in marketing, rather than economies of scale in production, which stimulated concentration. Marshall’s analysis of marketing anticipates many of the points that emerge from the information-cost perspective set out in...
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