Utility Theory and Structural Analysis. Essays in the History of Swedish Economic Thought.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


The first paper in this study is "Cassel and Revealed Preference Theory." The background to the paper is the general agreement that P. Samuelson originated the revealed preference theory of consumer behaviuor in 1938, but that there has not been such unanimous consent regarding possible precursors of the theory. Among those pointed to as predecessors is Cassel. This claim is, however, not so easy to establish. I evaluate the pros and cons of considering Cassel a forerunner of revealed preference theoryThe second paper is "Wicksell on Harmony Economics: The Lausanne School vs. Wicksell." It depicts the evolution of Wicksell's critique of the Lausanne School version of harmony economics. The paper shows that the difference of ideas hinged to a large extent on contrary views of the possibilities of making interpersonal comparisons of utility and dissimilar general social and political philosophies. It also shows that Wicksell was correct in criticizing Walras and Pareto for making unsubstantiated claims about the properties and outcomes of free competition.The third paper is "Myrdal's Immanent Critique of Utility Theory." During the time-period when Gunnar Myrdal still considered himself a 'pure economic theorist', one of his main interests was to criticize utility theory. The paper, partly based on some previously unpublished material, describes and posits this critique.The fourth paper, "The Structural Analytical Tradition In Swedish Economics," is the first more thorough study and analysis of the structure-theoretical tradition in Swedish economics. Since the 1970s, comprehensive research on the structural features of the economy has been conducted in Lund. Reference is often made to Knut Wicksell and to the forerunners of the so-called Lund School, mainly Johan Åkerman, Erik Dahmén and Ingvar Svennilson. The article is an attempt to portrait these power sources of the structure analytical school. The paper also presents the work now being done within the tradition in Lund and elsewhere in Sweden.


  • Lars Pålsson Syll
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economics


  • economic policy, economic systems, economic theory, econometrics, Economics, Dahmén, Svennilson, structural analysis, Åkerman, Utility theory, revealed preferences, Nationalekonomi, ekonometri, ekonomisk teori, ekonomiska system, ekonomisk politik, Social and economic history, Ekonomisk och social historia
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1997 May 26
  • Department of Economics, Lund University
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 1997-05-26 Time: 13:15 Place: Crafoordsalen, Ekonomihögskolan External reviewer(s) Name: Siven, Claes-Henric Title: Professor Affiliation: Stockholm University ---