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Expectations, conjectures and beliefs: The legacy of Marshall, Kahn and Keynes




Speaker: Prof Maria Cristina Marcuzzo (Sapienza, Università di Roma)

Series: Department of Economics Seminar Series 2017-18

This seminar is part of the Department of Economics Seminar Series 2017-18. The seminars are open to all - no registration necessary. If you would like to receive email notification of the Department’s seminars, please send your request to


The purpose of this paper is to portray a mode of inquiry into expectations by three Cambridge authors in which the expectations are not conceptualized or modelled on the basis of a probability distribution. As to whether this is due to a clearly stated opposition (as in the case of Keynes) or want of the appropriate technique, or indeed a different research approach environment, there may be more than one answer.

Within its limited and non-exhaustive scope, this paper offers an interpretation based on the idea that these economists shared a view of the method appropriate to economic theorizing. I first present a summary of the main points made by Marshall, Kahn and Keynes on the role of expectations, then I address two issues relevant in contemporary discussion, i.e. the role of expectations in generating market instability and the advantages of taking future markets and experiments as evidence of observable expectations. This latter point leads to a brief discussion on the dividing line between two currents of thought in the Cambridge tradition, namely subjective vs. observable quantities, associated with the followers of the view of the matter taken by Keynes on the one hand and by Sraffa on the other.

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When & where

3.00pm - 4.30pmWednesday 25th April 2018

D427 Rhind Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1R 0JD United Kingdom