Alfred Marshall

Alfred Marshall ( born July 26 1842 in Bermondsey in London, † July 13, 1924 in Cambridge ) was one of the most influential economists of his time. He is considered the Cambridge school of neoclassical economics and has made a name for itself in the development of microeconomic partial analysis.


Marshall suffered from a very strict father who would have liked to have seen him as a priest. He studied with the financial help of his uncle at St John's College, Cambridge. There he received his first professorship which he had to give up in 1877 because he married one of his students, which violated the rules of professional conduct.

In 1883 he was appointed again to Cambridge. There he succeeded in 1903 to establish economics as a separate field of study. His students included there among others John Maynard Keynes. In 1908 he retired and was succeeded by his student Arthur Cecil Pigou.

In his 1890 published book Principles of Economics, which was a leader in the UK for a long time, he asked many theories of his time for the first time in a coherent framework represents and developed many analytical instruments, which have become standard in economics.

He popularized developed by Karl Heinrich Rau presentation of the theory of demand and supply in the form of supply and demand curves ( see below source Wolfgang Borgstedte ), in which he also first implemented principle of diminishing marginal utility. He compared the demand and supply curves while the blades of a scissors. Therefore, one also speaks of Scherentheorem if one starts from a price-quantity diagram with increasing supply and falling demand curve. Marshall coined the term consumer surplus as the area under the demand curve ( decreasing) bounded by the ( underlying ) price straight; herein the term implies the producer surplus, the area between the supply curve and ( overlying ) price line. The equilibrium price in Marshalls default plot is that of price-quantity equilibrium, which corresponds to the current needs of provider (s ) and customers ( n ) optimally. All non-equilibrium situations above and below the equilibrium price mean divergent preferences. A shift of the demand curve upwards means either a preference change in demand - side within the meaning higher amount of demand ( it is added purchased ) or the addition of new buyers. Mirrored shifting the curve down, and the same statements are of course analogous to the supply curve into interpretable (see pricing ).

A formula developed Marshalls Abba P. Lerner later. She has since been known as the Marshall - Lerner condition. Even Marshall led the " ceteris paribus " clause as a tool.

Since Marshall abtrug contrary to popular standard price as the independent variable in the vertical direction, this reversed form of the axis label is now traditionally continued in the economy.


  • Principles of Economics, French and English school library, Volume 246; Reger, Bielefeld 1932

See also: price elasticity