By Buchanan J.M.
''As he frequently does, Professor Buchanan has produced a fascinating and provocative piece of labor. [Cost and selection] begins as an essay within the historical past of fee concept; the important rules of the booklet are traced to Davenport and Knight within the usa, and to a sequence of exceptional writers linked at numerous instances with the London institution of Economics. the writer emerges from this dialogue with what could be defined because the final in subjectivist fee doctrines. . . . Economists may still research the teachings provided to us during this little book—and research them good. it may shop them from critical errors.''
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Additional info for Cost and Choice: An Inquiry in Economic Theory, Vol. 6
Keeney, ‘‘The Evolution of Cost Doctrine’’ (Mimeographed, Midwestern Economics Association, November 1967). 9. Frank H. , reprinted in F. H. Knight, The Ethics of Competition (London: Allen and Unwin, 1935), p. 225. 10. L. Robbins, ‘‘Certain Aspects of the Theory of Cost,’’ Economic Journal, XLIV (March 1934), 1–18. Robbins’ interest in the issues here was indicated in his earlier paper, ‘‘On a 20 Cost and Choice tunity cost, much as Knight himself was led to do in his 1934 and 1935 papers. In so doing, Robbins provided the basis for an opportunity-cost conception that later came to be identified with the London School of Economics.
363. 14 Cost and Choice termined in the exchange process. ’’6 Within a few years, however, Knight sensed that something was wrong with his straightforward alternate-product measure of opportunity cost. 7 He tried to modify the alternate-product definition of cost to take account of the differences in the irksomeness of different resource uses, especially with application to the allocation of labor. In an extremely complex argument, Knight claimed that to the extent that resource owners do not equalize pecuniary returns to resource units in all uses, the principle of alternate-product cost does not wholly apply.
Shackle was a student at LSE in the years when the opportunity-cost conception was being developed. In several of his papers, Thirlby expresses indebtedness to Shackle; and it is immediately evident that Shackle’s treatment of the decision process is wholly consistent with the London doctrine of opportunity cost. Yet—and surprisingly—Shackle does not, to my knowledge, make the obvious linkage between his provocative and important work on decision, uncertainty, and time and the work on opportunity cost carried forward by his LSE counterparts.