Léon Walras

Marie-Esprit-Léon Walras (French: [valʁas];[1] 16 December 1834 – 5 January 1910) was a French mathematical economist and Georgist.[2] He formulated the marginal theory of value (independently of William Stanley Jevons and Carl Menger) and pioneered the development of general equilibrium theory. Walras is best known for his book Éléments d'économie politique pure, a work that has contributed greatly to the mathematization of economics through the concept of general equilibrium. The definition of the role of the entrepreneur found in it was also taken up and amplified by Schumpeter.

Léon Walras
Born(1834-12-16)16 December 1834
Died5 January 1910(1910-01-05) (aged 75)
Clarens, now part of Montreux, Switzerland
School or
Lausanne School
Alma materÉcole des Mines de Paris
ContributionsMarginal utility
General equilibrium
Walras's law
Walrasian auction

For Walras, exchanges only take place after a Walrasian tâtonnement (French for "trial and error"), guided by the auctioneer, has made it possible to reach market equilibrium. It was the general equilibrium obtained from a single hypothesis, rarity, that led Joseph Schumpeter to consider him "the greatest of all economists". The notion of general equilibrium was very quickly adopted by major economists such as Vilfredo Pareto, Knut Wicksell or Gustav Cassel. John Hicks and Paul Samuelson used the Walrasian contribution in the elaboration of the neoclassical synthesis. For their part, Kenneth Arrow and Gérard Debreu, from the perspective of a logician and a mathematician, determined the conditions necessary for equilibrium.