Alfred Marshall

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Alfred Marshall was born in 1842 in London and died in 1924 in Cambridge. He was a professor at Cambridge University in the years 1885-1908. His students included, among others, Arthur Cecil Pigou and John Maynard Keynes. His work entitled "Principles of Economics" published in 1890, had a big influence on his generation. Even now the introduction to economics is very often based on the presentation of Marshall's theory of prices.

Marshall popularised marginal logic in the United Kingdom area. He also proposed the synthesis between abstract and empirical approach, as well as between the tradition of English classics and new value analysis.

Prices theory

Marshall introduced the distinction between the market period, short period and long period. The market period is the amount of time for which the stock of a commodity is fixed. The short period is the time in which the supply can be increased by adding labour and other inputs but not by adding capital. Third, the long period is the amount of time taken for capital to be increased.

Marshall's influence on economic thought is difficult to deny. He popularized also the use of supply and demand functions as tools of price determination and analysed such concepts as consumer surplus and price elasticity of demand.

Major works

  • The economics of industry (1874)
  • Principles of economics (1890)
  • Industry and trade (1919)
  • Money, credit and commerce (1923)

See also:


  • Pressman S. (1999), Fifty major economists, Routledge, p. 64.
  • Weintraub E.R., Forget E. L. (2007), Economist's lives: biography and autobiography in the history of economics, Duke University Press, Durham & London, p. 51.
  • Whitaker J.K. (1990), Centenary essays on Alfred Marshall, Royal Economic Society, Cambridge Uniwersity Press.
  • Alfred Marshall @ wikipedia.

Author: Sławomir Pytel