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General equilibrium as competitive equilibrium: The significance of Walras' achievement from a Cournotian viewpoint

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Cournot's Recherches contains a sketch of the general equilibrium research programme, as well as the model of an exchange economy as a system verifying Walras' law. General equilibrium analysis had nonetheless to wait for Walras to occupy the centre of theoretical economics, since it was dismissed by Cournot for its lack of simplicity and robustness. We suggest these motives to depend upon his view of competition as a strategic interaction between producers. Correlatively, the way to the Walras' construct appears to pass through his own view of competition, with economic agents giving up by pure conduct their potential market power.
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Keywords: Cournot; Walras; competition; general equilibrium

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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