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David Ricardo vs. Gottfried Haberler: When an Austrian mind matches an English classic mind

Flavia G. Poinsot

No 4190, Working Papers from Asociación Argentina de Economía Política

Abstract: In many textbooks of international trade we read that the theory of comparative advantage, of Ricardo, determines its relative prices in function of the labor-cost theory. This approach, actually, emerges with Haberler by 1930s. For Haberler, the Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage is robust, but not the labor-cost doctrine which, he assumes, Ricardo applies. Haberler, then, reformulates the theory from the Austrian outlook which rejects the classical labor theory of value. The process, epistemologically speaking, resembles that of a Lakatosian “research program”, because while the hard core, the theory of comparative advantage, does not change, the assumptions and the labor-cost theory are eliminated. However, would Ricardo agree with Haberler in that he based the theory of comparative advantage in the labor-cost hypothesis? And, why Haberler thinks, without doubt, that Ricardo adheres to the labor-cost theory? This paper is an attempt to answer these questions.

Keywords: David Ricardo; Gottfried Haberler; theory of value; theory of comparative advantage; Austrian school of thoughts; epistemology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B31 B53 B25 B12 F10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 26 pages
Date: 2019-11
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