Lecture 4 - Perfect Competition

The Element of Economic Analysis

University of Chicago

This lecture is something of an (anti-) climax to the course so far, discussion the central idea of perfect competition. We cover some basic ideas in international trade and comparative advantage, the existence and comparative statics of equilibrium and the fundamental theorems of welfare economics and their appropriate interpretation. We then consider whether the welfare theorems really justify the pro-market spin usually put on them, considering Hayek's emphasis on the market's informational role as a framing of the themes for the rest of the course.

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