Working Paper 99-05
Department of Economics
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


The Legacy of Augustin Cournot

Broadly speaking, Cournot's legacy to economics consists of (i) showing economists how to use mathematics in a general way to develop economic theory, as opposed to using examples based on specific functional forms, (ii) his clear and sophisticated treatment of market demand, monopoly, competitive markets, and above all, oligopoly.

Among contemporary economists Cournot is mainly remembered only for his oligopoly theory; however, he appears to have had a formative influence on Marshall and Walras as well as a lesser influence on later mathematically inclined economists.


James Friedman
Department of Economics, CB# 3305
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3305
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