Economic Theory and Operations Analysis

Economic Theory and Operations Analysis

Economic Theory and Operations Analysis

Economic Theory and Operations Analysis

Excerpt

The last few years have brought with them a happy increase in rapport between the economic theorist and the managerial economist. This development has involved their simultaneous realization that business practice can be a fertile source of more abstract analytical ideas and that the theorist's rigorous tools can make an important contribution to the analysis of applied problems. That, in essence, is the spirit in which this book was written.

The subject of this book is economic theory, not operations research. The volume is intended to offer the reader both a systematic exposition of received microeconomic analysis, and an intuitive grasp of the many recent developments in mathematical economics which have too long remained a mystery in the private possession of the specialists (who, it must be admitted, have always been willing and anxious to share their secrets). The discussions of applications of economic theory to the tools of operations research and to business analysis are primarily illustrative, and though a considerable portion of the body of operations research equipment is described, the result can by no means be considered to constitute a survey of the field. As one reader has suggested, this book is intended to be more helpful to an operations researcher who wishes to learn economics than to an economist who desires a systematic education in operations research.

For their helpful comments and suggestions on all or part of the manuscript I must thank Forman Acton, Wroe Alderson, S. T. Bega, W. W. Cooper, Robert Dorfman, Ralph Gomory, Herman Karreman, Robert Kuenne, Harold Kuhn, Don Patinkin, Gardner Patterson, Maurice Peston and, above all, Alvaro Lopez and Richard Quandt. The devoted labors of my research assistant, Charles Frisbie, and the extraordinary workmanship of my secretary, Mrs. C. B. Brown, were of immeasurable help. The role of my several years of experience with the management consulting firm of Alderson Associates, Inc., will be apparent in many parts of the book. I must also acknowledge my sincere gratitude to the Ford Foundation whose grant to the Department of Economics at Princeton helped to finance the research involved in the more original portions of this volume as well as the typing of the manuscript.

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