The development and use of the consumer's surplus in economic analysis
Stokes, Charles J
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In this dissertation I review the history and the development of the concept of the consumer's surplus. My purpose is to give focus to the role of this concept in equilibrium determination for consumer demand and production theory and thus to point up the welfare significance of certain consumer and producer decisions. My method is basically illustrative. I draw my principal conclusion--that consumer's surplus is an analytical tool of great utility and therefore merits its recent rehabilitation--from an examination of the meaning of consumer equilibrium. This I do by, first, defining surplus, and attempting a classification of it. Then I proceed to a consideration of the connection between major surplus concepts and of the unique role of the consumer's surplus. Having done this, I look into the development of consumer demand theory to see how consumer's surplus plays its role there. My next step is the outlining of the welfare systems of major economists as these systems involve a consumer's surplus. Lastly, after a consideration of two problems of ideal out put in production theory, I give attention to the criticisms of the consumer's surplus and summarize my conclusions regarding the use of the concept.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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