Marginalism is an economic school of thought which emerged in the mid-19th century as a reaction to the classical school, also known as the neoclassical school. It concentrates on the last unit produced or on the loss of a given good. The main contribution of marginalism to the world was the law of decreasing marginal utility, which explains that the value of a good for its owner is determined by the utility of the last unit produced of that good, decreasing its utility depending on the number of units it possesses, the more units there are, the lower its utility will be. Marginalists introduced a formalized language, which led to the assimilation of mathematics in economics.


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What is marginalism?

Marginalism is a school that focuses all its attention on analyzing the proper functioning of markets and the training in which they create the product prices. A current of economic thought whose main characteristic was the marginal analysis of economic problems.

Characteristics of marginalism

History of marginalism

The main exponents of the marginalist revolution were William S. Jevons (1835-1882), Cari Menger (1840-1921) and Léon Walras (1834-1910), who were in charge of representing a certain intellectual current or school: Jevons was in charge of the British marginalism school, Menger of the Austrian school and Walras of the Lausanne school.

The authors who focused on trying to impose this economic way of thinking during the 19th century continued the research of the French philosopher Condillac (1715-1780), who in his work “Treatise on Sensations” had outlined a subjective theory of value and for whom economic operations were based on the desires of individuals. Stanley Jevons (1835-1882), Lóon Walras of France (1834-1910) and Carl Menger, originally from Austria (1840-1921) led the main marginalist schools during the 1970s.

Marginalism’s contributions

Representatives of marginalism

The works of the following authors were characterized by the construction of abstract models developed with bases in mathematical techniques and by the importance they gave to marginal analysis, and its progressive application through microeconomic theory.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.
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