The discovery of comparative advantage , Southampton, UK University of Southampton
(Discussion Papers in Economics and Econometrics, 9811).
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The discovery of the principle of comparative advantage was a complex process involving two generations of economists. This paper examines the contributions of Torrens, Ricardo, James Mill and John Stuart Mill. It argues that James Mill's Elements (1821) and not Ricardo's principles (1817) is the primary text for the principle. Mill transformed and systematised the insights of the earlier contributors, including Ricardo, and his mistakes stimulated the later contributors.
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