The main difference between Marshall and Robbins’ definitions of economics is that Marshall focuses more on the practical applications of economics, while Robbins emphasizes the scientific nature of the discipline.
Marshall believes that economists should use their knowledge to solve real-world problems, while Robbins thinks that economists should discover and study the laws that govern human behavior.
How did Marshall define economics?
Alfred Marshall, one of the founders of modern economics, defines it as –
“Economics is the study of humans, in relation to the ordinary business of life. It studies that portion of the personal and social activities, which are closely related to the attainment of material resources, related to welfare and its utilization.”Alfred Marshall
From this definition, it is clear that economics is not just about money, but about people and their interactions with each other.
It looks at how we use resources to improve our lives and achieve our goals.
Marshall also believed that economics should be practical and useful, rather than just theoretical.
He wanted economists to focus on solving real-world problems, and he thought that this would ultimately benefit everyone.
What is Robbin’s Definition of Economics?
Lionel Robbins defined economics as:
“The science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.”Lionel Robbins
In simple words, economics is the study of how people use limited resources to satisfy their needs and wants.
It looks at how people make decisions when they don’t have enough of something to go around.
Robbins believed that economics is a science because it follows certain laws and principles that always hold true.
He also thought that it was important to be practical and use economics to solve real-world problems.
How is Marshall’s definition of economics different from Robbin’s definition?
Marshall vs Robbins Definition
- One of the major differences between Marshall and Robbins’ definitions of economics is that Marshall includes the study of welfare in his definition. Robbins does not mention welfare at all.
- Marshall defines economics as the study of humans in relation to business, while Robbins defines it as the study of human behavior.
- Marshall believes that economics should be practical and useful, while Robbins believes that it should be scientific.
- Marshall focuses on the attainment of material resources, while Robbins focuses on the satisfaction of needs and wants.
- Finally, Marshall believes that economics should be used to solve real-world problems, while Robbins believes that it should be used to understand human behavior.
- Robbins defines economics more narrowly than Marshall.
- Marshall’s definition is more comprehensive than Robbins’ definition.
Economics is a Social Science
Marshall’s definition states that economics is the study of humans in relation to the ordinary business of life.
From this, it can be inferred that economics is a social science.
Social sciences are disciplines that study human behavior and society.
They include things like sociology, psychology, and political science.
Economics is unique among social sciences because it focuses specifically on the use of resources.
Economics is a Human Science
On the other hand, Robbins defines economics as the study of human behavior. This makes economics a human science in the context of Robbins.
Human sciences are disciplines that focus on the study of humans.
Here, the focus is not on resources, but on human beings themselves.
Robbins’ definition of economics is complex
While Marshall’s definition is straightforward and easy to understand, Robbins’ definition is more complex.
This is because it tries to define economics in terms of its methodology (science) and its subject matter (human behavior).
This complexity may be why Marshall’s definition is more commonly used than Robbins’ definition.