Evolution in Definition of Economics

Evolution In Definition Of Economics

Definition of Wealth – Adam Smith (1776)
Adam Smith - Economics Class 12
Adam Smith
 “Economics is the  science of wealth”
  • This definition was given by Adam Smith.
  • He is also known as the ‘father of economics.
  • According to this definition, economics is a science of the study of wealth only.
  • It deals with production, distribution, and consumption.
  • This wealth-centred definition deals with the causes behind the creation of wealth.
Economics as Wealth Definition - Economics Study Materials
Definition of Welfare – Alfred Marshall (1890)
Alfred Marshal - Economics Study Materials
Alfred Marshall
“Economics is the study of man in the ordinary business of life”
  • This definition was put forward by Alfred Marshall.
  • According to Alfred Marshall, economics is the study of man in the ordinary business of life.
  • It examines how a person gets his income and how he invests it.
  • Thus, on one side, it is a study of wealth.
  • On the other most important side, it is a study of well-being (welfare).
 Economics As Welfare Definition
Definition of Scarcity – Lionel Robbins (1932)

Lionel Robbins
Economics is the aspect of scarcity in all economic behaviour
This definition was put forward by Lionel Robbins.

According to him, economics is a science that studies human behaviour as a relationship between end and scarce means that have alternative uses.


  • The wants of a human are unlimited.
  • It has an alternative use of scarce resources.
  • It is an efficient use of resources.
  • It is needed for optimisation, i.e., best allocation of resources.
 Economics as Scarcity Definition
Definition of Growth – Paul. A. Samuelson (1948)

Paul. A. Samuelson
Economics is concerned with determining the pattern of employment of scarce resources to produce commodities ‘over time’.
This definition was introduced by Paul A. Samuelson.

According to him, “economics is the study of how people and society choose, with or without the use of money, to employ scarce productive resources which could have alternative uses, to produce various commodities over time and distribute them for consumption now and in the future among various persons and groups of society”.

It analyses the costs and benefits of improving patterns of resource allocation.

This definition is the combination of welfare and scarcity definition.

 Economics as growth definition


Important Topics in Economics:

Consumer Protection Act

What is Demand?

Circular Flow of Income

Consumer Equilibrium

Central Problems of an Economy


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