Edward Chamberlin

Edward Chamberlin

American economist
Date of Birth: 18.05.1899
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Edward Chamberlin
  2. Academic Career
  3. The Theory of Monopolistic Competition
  4. Impact and Legacy
  5. Death

Biography of Edward Chamberlin

Edward Chamberlin was an American economist known for his significant contributions to the field of microeconomics, particularly in the areas of competition theory and buyer choice. He was born in La Conner, Washington and began his studies at the University of Iowa before transferring to the University of Michigan. Chamberlin later obtained his doctoral degree from Harvard University in 1927, where he was greatly influenced by Frank H. Knight.

Academic Career

After completing his education, Chamberlin spent the majority of his teaching career at Harvard University from 1937 to 1967. He became well-known for his research on product differentiation, which explores how suppliers can sell a larger quantity of goods than traditional competitive situations would allow. Chamberlin coined the term "product differentiation" and made significant contributions to the theory of competition and buyer choice.

The Theory of Monopolistic Competition

Chamberlin's most famous work is his book "The Theory of Monopolistic Competition," published in 1933. This influential work explores the concept of monopolistic competition, which describes a market structure where firms have some degree of market power due to product differentiation. In the same year, Joan Robinson also published a similar work titled "The Economics of Imperfect Competition." Together, Chamberlin and Robinson are considered the founders of the modern theory of imperfect competition.

Impact and Legacy

Chamberlin's theory of monopolistic competition has had a lasting impact on the field of economics. Sociologist Harrison White incorporated Chamberlin's ideas into his model of "markets from networks," which analyzes market structure and competition. In the 1960s, the paradigm of "Structure-Conduct-Performance" faced criticism with the rise of game theory. However, in the 1970s, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman and his followers developed a new theory of international trade that combined the concepts of monopolistic competition and industrial structure with production functions, giving Chamberlin's paradigm a renewed relevance.


Edward Chamberlin passed away on July 16, 1967, at the age of 68. Despite his death, his contributions to the field of economics continue to be recognized and studied to this day.