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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 18 No. 2 (Spring 2004)


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Retrospectives: How Joan Robinson and B. L. Hallward Named Monopsony

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Thornton, Robert J. 2004. "Retrospectives: How Joan Robinson and B. L. Hallward Named Monopsony." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 18(2): 257-261.

DOI: 10.1257/0895330041371240


The term "monopsony" was introduced by Joan Robinson in her 1932 classic The Economics of Imperfect Competition, although she gives credit to classics scholar B.L. Hallward of Cambridge for the actual coining of the term. Even though the term has become widely accepted by economists, its literal meaning is more idiosyncratic than simply "one buyer" of a commodity or service. In this paper I discuss the etymology of the term monopsony and suggest several other words that would seem to be more appropriate for describing this market phenomenon.

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Thornton, Robert J.


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