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Reception of Walras’ Theory of Exchange and Theory of Production in Russia

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Abstract

This paper evaluates the reception of Léon Walras’ ideas in Russia before 1920. Despite an unfavourable institutional context, Walras was read by Russian economists. On the one hand, Bortkiewicz and Winiarski, who lived outside Russia and had the opportunity to meet and correspond with Walras, were first class readers and very good ambassadors for Walras’ ideas, while on the other, the economists living in Russia were more selective in their readings. They restricted themselves to Walras’ Elements of Pure Economics, in particular, its theory of exchange, while ignoring its theory of production. We introduce a cultural argument to explain their selective reading. JEL classification numbers: B 13, B 19.

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