Fighting Market Failure: Collected Essays in the Cambridge Tradition of Economics, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Fighting Market Failure

Collected Essays in the Cambridge Tradition of Economics, 1st Edition

By Maria Cristina Marcuzzo


336 pages

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This collection brings together fifteen essays published between 1994 and 2008 which all look into the contribution of a remarkable group of economists known as the "Cambridge school" or the "Cambridge Keynesians". The people involved are better defined as a "group" rather than a "school", to denote not adhesion to a common body of doctrine but rather the idea of both cohesion and sharing. This collection focuses on Keynes, Kahn, J. Robinson and Sraffa, who all shared in the physical space and lifestyle of the University of Cambridge. The bond between them was intellectual partnership, a recognised common ground, dialogue and acceptance of criticism. Some of the essays in this collection address the content, as well as the method and "style", of the type of economics associated with the Cambridge tradition at the very core of which those economists stand.

The first section opens with a chapter presenting the group within the physical and metaphorical place which was Cambridge, and the remaining five chapters centre on the life and work of each economist. The second section has papers looking at them in pairs, as it were, and revolves around the theme of their collaboration in various intellectual achievements. In particular, the opening piece makes the rather bold point that the road to the General Theory was not a solitary path. In other two papers much is said of Sraffa’s intellectual isolation in Cambridge and the difficulty of communication with Joan Robinson. The chapters in the third section take up aspects of their theories and approaches which justify the importance and relevance of the Cambridge tradition in economics.

This book should be of interest to students and researchers within the history of economics and economic thought, particularly those focussing on the Cambridge or Keynesian traditions.


"A must for all those interested in the Cambridge traditions of economics. Marcuzzo paints a rich and fascinating picture of their leading scholars and main ideas. She rightly rejects the view that there was a "Cambridge school"." - Heinz Kurz, University of Graz, Austria

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Individuals 1. Cambridge as a place in economics (with Nerio Naldi, Annalisa Rosselli and Eleonora Sanfilippo) 2. Keynes and Cambridge 3. Piero Sraffa at the University of Cambridge 4. The ‘elusive figure who hides in the preface of Cambridge books’: An appraisal of Richard Kahn’s contributions 5. Joan Robinson and the three Cambridge revolutions 6. R.F. Kahn and imperfect competition Part 2: Collaboration 7. The collaboration between J.M. Keynes and R.F. Kahn from the Treatise to the General Theory 8. Joan Robinson and Richard Kahn: The origin of short-period analysis 9. Robinson and Sraffa 10. Sraffa and Cambridge economics, 1928–1931 Part 3: Approach 11. From market ‘imperfections’ to market ‘failures’: Some Cambridge challenges to laissez-faire 12. Alternative microeconomic foundations for macroeconomics: The controversy over the L-shaped cost curve revisited 13. Short-period economics in retrospect 14. The ‘first’ imperfect competition revolution 15. Profit maximization in the Cambridge tradition of economics (with Eleonora Sanfilippo)

About the Author

Maria Cristina Marcuzzo is Professor in Economics at the University of Rome, "La Sapienza", Italy. She is Past President of the European Society for the History of Economic Thought, member of the Executive Committee of the Italian Society of Economists, and of the History of Political Economy Society.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Money & Monetary Policy
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Theory