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Alfred Marshall (26 July 1842 – 13 July 1924) was an English economist, who was one of the most influential economists of his time. His book, '' Principles of Economics'' (1890), was the dominant economic textbook in England for many years. It brings the ideas of
supply and demand In microeconomics Microeconomics is a branch of that studies the behavior of individuals and in making decisions regarding the allocation of and the interactions among these individuals and firms. Microeconomics focuses on the study ...

supply and demand
,
marginal utility In economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. ...
, and costs of production into a coherent whole. He is known as one of the founders of
neoclassical economics Neoclassical economics is an approach to economics in which the production, consumption and valuation (pricing) of goods and services are driven by the supply and demand In microeconomics, supply and demand is an economic model In econo ...
.


Life and career

Marshall was born in London. His father was a bank cashier and devout Evangelical. Marshall grew up in
Clapham Clapham () is a district of South London South London is the informally defined southern part of London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at the head of a down to the , and has been a major ...
and was educated at the
Merchant Taylors' SchoolMerchant Taylors' School may refer to: *Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood (founded 1561), is a British independent school originally located in the City of London and now located in Northwood in Middlesex . *Merchant Taylors' Boys' School, Crosby ...
and
St John's College, Cambridge St John's College is a constituent college A collegiate university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) educatio ...

St John's College, Cambridge
, where he demonstrated an aptitude in mathematics, achieving the rank of
Second Wrangler A student is named as Senior Wrangler in 1842, an accolade "synonymous with academic supremacy". At the University of Cambridge in England, a "Wrangler" is a student who gains first-class honours in the final year of Mathematical Tripos, the Un ...
in the 1865
Cambridge Mathematical Tripos The Mathematical Tripos is the mathematics course that is taught in the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. It is the oldest Tripos examined at the University. Origin In its classical nineteenth-century form, the tripos was a ...
. Marshall experienced a mental crisis that led him to abandon physics and switch to philosophy. He began with metaphysics, specifically "the philosophical foundation of knowledge, especially in relation to theology". Metaphysics led Marshall to ethics, specifically a
Sidgwickian
Sidgwickian
version of utilitarianism; ethics, in turn, led him to economics, because economics played an essential role in providing the preconditions for the improvement of the working class. He saw that the duty of economics was to improve material conditions, but such improvement would occur, Marshall believed, only in connection with social and political forces. His interest in
Georgism Georgism, also called in modern times geoism and known historically as the single tax movement, is an economic ideology An economic ideology distinguishes itself from economic theory in being Normative economics, normative rather than just expl ...
, liberalism, socialism, trade unions, women's education, poverty and progress reflect the influence of his early social philosophy on his later activities and writings. Marshall was elected in 1865 to a fellowship at St John's College at Cambridge, and became lecturer in the moral sciences in 1868. In 1885 he became professor of political economy at Cambridge, where he remained until his retirement in 1908. Over the years he interacted with many British thinkers including
Henry Sidgwick Henry Sidgwick (; 31 May 1838 – 28 August 1900) was an English utilitarian Utilitarianism is a family of normative ethical theories that prescribe actions that maximize happiness and well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'' ...

Henry Sidgwick
,
W.K. Clifford
W.K. Clifford
,
Benjamin Jowett Benjamin Jowett (, modern variant ; 15 April 1817 – 1 October 1893) was an influential tutor and administrative reformer in the University of Oxford , mottoeng = Psalm 27, The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1  ...

Benjamin Jowett
,
William Stanley Jevons William Stanley Jevons FRS (; 1 September 183513 August 1882) was an English economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories ...

William Stanley Jevons
,
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth Francis Ysidro Edgeworth (8 February 1845 – 13 February 1926) was an Anglo-Irish philosopher and political economist who made significant contributions to the methods of statistics during the 1880s. From 1891 onward, he was appointed the ...
,
John Neville Keynes John Neville Keynes ( ; 31 August 1852 – 15 November 1949) was a British economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories an ...
and
John Maynard Keynes John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, ( ; 5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946) was an English economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. Originally trained in ma ...

John Maynard Keynes
. Marshall founded the Cambridge School which paid special attention to increasing returns, the theory of the firm, and welfare economics; after his retirement leaderships passed to
Arthur Cecil Pigou Arthur Cecil Pigou (; 18 November 1877 – 7 March 1959) was an English economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and c ...
and
John Maynard Keynes John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, ( ; 5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946) was an English economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. Originally trained in ma ...

John Maynard Keynes
.


Contributions to economics

Marshall desired to improve the mathematical rigour of economics and transform it into a more scientific profession. In the 1870s he wrote a small number of tracts on international trade and the problems of protectionism. In 1879, many of these works were compiled into a work entitled ''The Theory of Foreign Trade: The Pure Theory of Domestic Values''. In the same year (1879) he published ''The Economics of Industry'' with his wife Mary Paley. Although Marshall took economics to a more mathematically rigorous level, he did not want mathematics to overshadow economics and thus make economics irrelevant to the layman. Accordingly, Marshall tailored the text of his books to laymen and put the mathematical content in the footnotes and appendices for the professionals. In a letter to A. L. Bowley, he laid out the following system: Marshall had been Mary Paley's professor of political economy at Cambridge and the two were married in 1877, forcing Marshall to leave his position as a
Fellow A fellow is a broad concept whose exact meaning depends on context. In learned Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, value (personal and cultural), values, attitudes, and preferences. The abil ...
of
St John's College, Cambridge St John's College is a constituent college A collegiate university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) educatio ...

St John's College, Cambridge
, to comply with celibacy rules at the university. He became the first principal at
University College In a number of countries, a university college is a college A college (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication ...
, Bristol, which was the institution that later became the
University of Bristol , mottoeng = earning Earning can refer to: *Labour (economics) *Earnings of a company *Merit (disambiguation), Merit {{disambig