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» Personal Loan No Credit Check, Online Economics » Economist (19. Jh.) » Topics begins with A » Antoine Augustin Cournot

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Antoine Augustin Cournot (* 28 August 1801 in the strike "† 31. March 1877 in Paris) was a French mathematician and restaurant theoretician. It can be ranked among the classical economics and is considered as joint founders of the mathematical economic theory.


Augustin Cournots mathematical training took place at the de its studies continued it 1821 at the normal one to Paris. In the year 1834 he became a professor for mathematics in Lyon. Its Recherches sur les principes de la of the richesses appeared 1838, remained however to a large extent unconsidered at this time. It simplified it therefore in the following years and published it again 1863 and 1876.

Influence on the mathematical economic theory

The name Cournot is brought mostly as the first with the duo pole theory in connection. Its name meets most studying the economics to first and frequently also for the last time by the Nash Cournot equilibrium. Occasionally also the profit maximum of a monopoly is called Cournot point. It had however of the introduction of the application of mathematics to the economic science considerably portion. Many of its ideas are also today still almost invariably part of the

The Recherches


Cournot uses the first three chapters of its Recherches, in order to define "wealth" to compare and specify absolute with relative prices that to homogeneous goods in a Common Market only one price can apply. In addition it defines that all acting individuals of a national economy act profit-maximizing.

Chapter 4 serves to explain the demand curve used by it in the further process. Beginning with the analysis of the monopoly in chapter 5 Cournot of its most well-known investigation approaches: It regarded first a property, which is manufactured by only one producer, extends the model in chapter 7 by and/or several competitors and achieves so its famous oligopoly theory, whereby the special case with two competitors, duo pole, is thus described like analytically in detail graphically. Chapter 8 locks this fundamental view by the introduction of the complete competition with an infinitely large number of competitors. Chapter 6 treats the influences of the taxation of a monopolist.

The remaining four chapters treat "communication" from markets, thus the trade between different regions, and the effects on the entire national income.

Investigation of the competition forms

It pay attention that the "investigation of the competition forms" is actually an investigation of the price of goods under certain conditions. Cournot defines introductory wealth as product of quantity and price of a property, whereby he admits that this "wealth" is not necessarily welfare-maximizing. As example he states the destruction of spices by the Dutch east India company, which is a "actual creation of wealth in the commercial sense of the word". With the late developed household theory and thus the Konsumentenrente it is possible particularly to show the negative consequences of an artificial shortage of goods for market power of a possessing offerer for the general welfare. Cournot however remained nothing else to select as an intuitively detectable explanation on the basis from examples to.

The law of the demand

It is to be assumed Cournot Adam Smiths Wealth OF studied nation quite thoroughly. Smith shows an intuitive understanding of the characteristics of a demand curve in the sieved chapter, without calling or define it exactly however such. It was Cournot, which as the first transferred the concept of a demand dependent on the price of a property into mathematics and described it as function.

Cournout defines the demand D as constant and monotonous falling function F (p), thus as dependent on the price p of the respective property.

Here it is pointed out that Cournots demand curve differs from in the today's the common, since Cournot did not deduce her from a use function of the Nachfrager. Was it consciously that the law of the demand depends on the use of the property, represented itself however the view that the reasons for the demand were not to be expressed too subjective and thus in algebraic formulas. It exclusively justifies the characteristics of the demand curve therefore by empirical observations, which suggest a negative connection between price and quantity. The explanation of the constant process corresponds against it to the today's: it confesses that in a small market with few Nachfragern quite precipitous changes of the demand can occur; as soon as the market becomes however large enough, the acceptance of the steadiness is however justified.

Which meaning has this definition of the demand, becomes clear in the further process of the Recherches. By the representation the demand as function succeeds in to Cournot, its investigation of the different types of market in more radical constructing consistent form.

Reactions and influences

During its lifetimes Cournot was a quite respected and recognized scientist, its Recherches however was nearly completely ignored. Only after its death its influences on the development of the economic theory began themselves to draw.

Which can be determined, it is that the mathematical treatment of the simple case of monopoly until today remained unchanged. Hardly a standard text book of the does without a repetition of this investigation to refer however without thereby to Cournot.

The moreover one Cournout seems on many later economists, who would use mathematical methods, a large influence to have had. Thus for example whale-race 1874 write:

"I to indebted tons my more father, Augusts whale-race, for the fundamentally principles OF my economic doctrine; and ton of Augustin Cournot for the idea OF using the calculus OF functions into the elaboration OF this doctrine."

and Mars-resound 1890:

"Cournot' s genius must give A new mentally activity ton everyone who passport through his hands."

Particularly with whale-race is noticeable the fact that its notation is nearly identical with from Cournot so that is to be assumed the joint founder of the Neoklassik was affected by the Recherches, how it likewise suggests the above quotation of him, and Cournot for the use of functions with the development of economic theories gave an impact.

One of the most well-known investigations of the Cournot duo pole theory is the 1883 published criticism of the French mathematician Joseph Bertrand. Cournot went out during its derivation of the equilibrium with the quantity of the offered goods as crucial variable, while Bertrand selected the price. In case of two offerers with same cost structure, who compete around the sales of a homogeneous property, one can specify the competitor its price minimum under that of the other one, whereupon he would thus increase the entire demand to receive and his profit. This would cause however the other offerer to undercut for his part the new price - a process would thus have been set on, which would only end with the reaching of the neighbouring costs.

The result of this competition is well-known as Bertrand paradoxes: Although there are only two offerers, the property is sold at a price, which corresponds to that of the unlimited competition. Today one calls a Wettberb after Cournots pattern quantity competition, while the Bertrand competition admits also as price competition is.

The described equilibrium in the case of duo pole is today well-known as Nash Cournot equilibrium. Friedman compares Cournots achievement with the view of the duo pole with from Adam the Smith regarding the demand curve: although Smith had a vague conception over the condition of a demand curve, he could not describe her accurately, exactly the same as Cournout a vague conception over the later Nash equilibrium had, this however accurately not describe could.

Cournot treated its analysis of the situation, as if it would be a dynamic, which is however wrong. The large attention, which to this aspect of its investigation today assign becomes, is based on the fact that one applies this computation equilibrium to static views, whereby the obvious non-cooperative result corresponds from Cournot.

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