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Sraffa and the Marshallian tradition*

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The paper retraces some of the stages in Sraffa's thinking about the work of Marshall, by drawing on unpublished material in the Sraffa archive from 1923 to 1930. It argues that Sraffa transformed his dissent  –  which was based on ideological grounds  –  into a ‘quest for the fatal error' to demolish the logical construction of Marshallian theory. Some of his attacks were successful (for example, the critique of the relation between costs and output); other attempts failed (the critique of the ‘normal rate of profit' and the critique of the concept of marginal productivity) since Sraffa could not find enough textual evidence to support his position.
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Keywords: Cambridge School; Increasing and decreasing returns; Marginalism; Marshall; Sraffa

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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