Schools of Thought in Economics
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 22: Russian School of mathematical economics
In the twentieth century Russian scholars who applied mathematical methods in economics made a major contribution to the development of the discipline. In this period the discipline of economics in Russia was to a considerable extent influenced by political and economic processes and the history of mathematical economics can, accordingly, be divided into six periods: (1) from the end of the nineteenth century to the revolution of 1917; (2) the period of the New Economic Policy when significant progress was made; (3) from the 1930s to the mid-1950s (notable for the work of L.V. Kantorovich and V.V. Novozhilov); (4) from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s (when the Russian School of mathematical economics was created); (5) from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s (during which period there was little progress before “perestroika”); (6) and from the mid-1980s to the present day (when Russia joined the mainstream of world economic thought). However, the most significant results had been achieved by the early 1960s. (For more details, see Belykh 2007). By comparison with the rest of the world the Russian School of economics in the nineteenth century was rather backward. In 1890, when Alfred Marshall’s Principles of Economics were published, a publication appeared in Russia, in which an attempt was made to create a so-called “neo-classical approach”, that is, to combine classical value theory with marginal utility and marginal productivity theories. It was an article by M.I. Tugan-Baranovsky (1890), which did not display originality, but did mark the beginning of a closer exchange with Western economics. Similar approaches were adopted in the works of V.K. Dmitriev, W.S. Woitinsky, A.D. Bilimovich, N.N. Shaposhnikov and E.E. Slutsky. All of these scholars worked independently of each other and their works were of varying quality. The works of Dmitriev (1904 ) and Slutsky (1915 ) became known worldwide, but much later. (For assessments of the contribution of Dmitriev and Slutsky, see the entries devoted to them in Volume I of this Handbook. A separate entry is also devoted to Ladislaus von Bortkiewich, who was born in Russia and graduated from St Petersburg University and who can, to a certain extent, also be considered a Russian mathematical economist.)
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