Theories of Value and Distribution

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSLS2EC1084

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon Semester, First year

Course Coordinator and Team: Arindam Banerjee

Email of course coordinator: arindam[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in


Aim: This course is the fundamental building block of the political economy stream of specialization that the MA economics programme offers along with other streams of specialization. The course teaches the fundamental concepts of Political Economy analysis in the programme. This course analyses the divide between Classical and Neoclassical theories of value and distribution and also exposes students to the historical evolution of economic thought, both in terms of theories and methods. These various schools and the theories making them up will be discussed with reference to the contexts in which these emerged and developed; the differences in their premises and the fundamental questions these are designed to answer, and the critiques advanced of them.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Read and interpret original classical text/writings in the field of classical political economy and early neo-classical thought.
  2. Develop an understanding of conceptual divides in terms of fundamental ideas in the various traditions of thought within the discipline.
  3. Acquire the capacity to locate various methods of analysis used within the historically developed body of economic thought.
  4. Develop the capacity to comprehend and articulate complex arguments and perspectives through their term papers and essays.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Introduction to the methodological evolution and divides in economic thought
  2. Classical Political Economy – the ideas of Adam Smith and David Ricardo
  3. Critique of CPE – Marx and the Marxian Political Economy
  4. From Political Economy to Economics – Carl Menger and the origin of marginalism

Assessment Details with weights:

The assessment for the course will be the following:

Group Presentations (20%): Students are expected to make 20 minute presentations on topics related to the various conceptions of ‘value’ and its distribution and the agreements/disagreements within these conceptions.

Essay (40%): Student will write a 2000 word paper with a critical approach on topics covering various theoretical convergences and departures on the concept of value and distribution among the four political economy thinkers covered in the course.

Book Review (40%): Students will review one of the four classical texts taught in the course, engaging with the arguments in the book and within the wider literature.

Reading List:


  • Smith, A. (1991) An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Oxford University Press, Oxford
  • Smith, A , The Theory of Moral Sentiments
  • Ricardo, D. (1817) On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, London
  • Marx, K., A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
  • Marx, K. (1974) Capital, Lawrence & Wishart, London
  • Carl Menger, Principles of Economics


  • Maurice Dobb, Studies in the development of capitalism
  • Maurice Dobb, Political economy and capitalism: some essays in economic tradition
  • Maurice Dobb, Theories of value and distribution since Adam Smith: Ideology and economic theory, First published 1973, Cambridge University Press, Several reprints
  • Ben Fine and Dimitris Milonakis, 2009, From Political Economy to Economics , Routledge
  • Schumpeter, J. (1991) History of Economic Analysis, Allen &Unwin, London
  • E.K. Hunt and Mark Lautzenheiser - History of Economic Thought: A Critical Perspective
  • A.K. Dasgupta - Epochs of Economic Theory
  • Ronald Meek, The Labor Theory of Value, Monthly Review Press