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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Robbin’s and Marshall’s Definitions of Economics

Marshall’s Definition
Economics is the study of mankind in the ordinary things of life. You wonder how you get your income and is used here. Consider the part of individual and social action that is linked more closely to the development and use of the material requirements of well-being, the doctrine of wealth on the one side and on the other hand, more importantly, is a part of the study of human beings.

Robbin’s Definition
The economy is the science of human behavior as a relationship between multi-purpose and scarce resources to alternative uses studies.

A comparative study of the two definitions on their similarities and differences.

Similarity between Robbin’s and Marshall’s theory:

1. Human behavior

Both definitions have to do with human behavior.

2. Optimization
Both definitions focus on the optimization to say, the best is possible under certain conditions. In the definition of Marshall, is to maximize our objective, the material welfare and the definition of Robbins, who has to do with the maximization of satisfaction.

3. The pillars
Consumption, production, exchange and distribution of wealth are the cornerstones of those definitions.

4. The characteristics of wealth and the limited resources
According to Marshall, is the basic source of wealth maximization of material wealth. Robbins believes that maximize our satisfaction for scarce resources. The concepts of wealth and scarce resources are synonymous, since both have the same properties, namely the transfer utility, and scarcity.

5. Analytical
Marshall definition is based on the realization and utilization of hardware. Robbins definition is based on the problem of the choice-based. Thus, both definitions analytical in nature.


Difference between Robbin’s and Marshall’s theory
We note the following differences between the two definitions.

1. Material of economic activity / Intangible.

Marshall: believes that activities to promote only the well-being.

Robbins: believes in tangible and intangible activities to address the problem of choice.

2. Social and natural sciences.

Marshall: to the economy is a social science.

Robbins : On the other hand, Robbins believes that economic science, including physics, chemistry, etc.

3. Science science normative / positive.

Marshall: believes that economic, not only because of the problems as they are, but also suggests that, as the given problem must be addressed. This means that, according to Marshall, the economy is essentially a normative science.

Robbins: sees it differently. He says that economists should be neutral observers of economic development around them, ignore their personal taste. We can only talk about facts. Robbins believes that the economy is essentially a positive science, the economists call economic facts.

4. Rating / universality.

Marshall: has classified material assets or property of persons in social life or isolated.

Robbins: does not believe in artificial classification. We analyzed the economic problems that seem to have multiple needs and few resources. It is a universal phenomenon.

5. Practical or theoretical.

Marshall: definition is practical in nature. This definition is useful for economic policy.

Robbins: definition is theoretical.

6. Social / isolated individual.

Marshall: believes that the activities of a social person. Ignores the activities of a single individual.

Robbins: believes that the activities of two persons, namely a person's activities and the activities of a single individual.

7. Activities so sensitive / insensitive.

Marshall: believes that the activities of a socially sensitive.

Robbins: believes that only the activities of both sensitive and valuable social person and the person.

8. Human Touch

Marshall: focuses on human material welfare. It places great value because of the man.

Robbins: focuses on the scarcity of resources. He gave no significance to the people.

9. Wellness / deficiency.

Marshall: definition is based on the concept of material welfare of man.

Robbins: definition is based on the concept of scarcity is based.

10. Sectors of the economy.

Marshall: believes that the substantive aspects of human well-being. This reflects the limited scope of the economy.

Robbins: makes no distinction between tangible and intangible aspects. Shows a higher degree of efficiency.

11. Moral values.

Marshall's: definition is a direct economic activities with moral values.

Robbins: definition has nothing to do with moral or ethical values. Is this the problem of social reformers, politicians, etc.

12. Subjective / objective.

Marshall’s: The notion of welfare in the definition of Marshall is subjective and varies from one person to another and from one place to another.

Robbins: The concept of scarcity in the Robbins definition is objective and applies to any person or body.

13. Qualitative/ quantitative.

Marshall’s: The notion of welfare is a qualitative phenomenon in the definition of Marshall and can not be measured.

Robbins: The concept of scarcity is a phenomenon in quantitative and measurable definition of Robbins.

14. Cause and effect.

Marshall’s: In the definition of Marshall, is the main concern of material prosperity is the effect of economic development.

Robbins: definition refers primarily to the allocation of scarce resources is the cause of economic development.

15. Vague / clear.

Marshall’s: The turning point of the definition of Marshall is that wealth is a vague concept and indicators of change over time.

Robbins: definitions based on a clear concept of scarcity and the basic indicator, the excess demand, he said.

16. Macro / micro approach.

Marshall’s: In the definition of Marshall, material wealth is a macroeconomic phenomenon.

Robbins: In the definition of Robbins, the most important macroeconomic problems such as unemployment, inflation, and therefore was not included. Focused exclusively on the micro aspects of economic life.


Based on the above facts, we conclude that although the definition of Marshall's economy an important role in the economic literature, however, the definition Robbins is logically better. Therefore, economists modern, clean and prefer the traditional definition and neo-classical economics.

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