2.5 — Ricardo & Rent — Class Content

Meeting Dates

Tuesday, October 4, 2022


Today we begin David Ricardo’s system by primarily focusing on the idea of rent.


Required Readings:

  • David Ricardo & The High Price of Bullion, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation in Reader
  • start Ch.5 “Ricardo and Malthus” in Landreth & Colander
  • start Ch.4 “Ricardo’s System” in Blaug

Questions to Help Your Reading

  • How were the theories and policy recommendations affected by the events of the era?
    • What were the Corn Laws?
    • What is the principle of comparative costs (or comparative advantage)?
  • What did Ricardo view was the purpose, scope, and proper method of economics?
    • How was Ricardo’s focus different than Smith’s?
  • What was Ricardo’s view on the labor theory of value?
  • What is the role of capital (and capitalists), and of land (and landlords), in Ricardo’s model?
  • What is rent? Where does it come from? Is it “price-determined” or “price-determining?”
    • How is the rate of rent determined?
    • What is the difference between the “intensive margin” and the “extensive margin”?
  • What is profit? Where does it come from? Is it “price-determined” or “price-determining?”
  • How might we describe Ricardo’s production theory with modern production functions?
  • How did Ricardo integrate Malthusian population dynamics into his model?
  • How does diminishing returns figure into Ricardo’s model?


Below, you can find the slides in two formats. Clicking the image will bring you to the html version of the slides in a new tab. The lower button will allow you to download a PDF version of the slides.


You can type h to see a special list of viewing options, and type o for an outline view of all the slides.

I suggest printing the slides beforehand and using them to take additional notes in class (not everything is in the slides)!


Download as PDF


Participation/Discussion Board Posts Due 8 PM Fri Oct 7

This week’s graded discussion is worth 5 points, and can be a combination of discussion in class, and/or posts on the Blackboard Discussion Board by 8 PM this Friday October 7.

Tournament Votes

The second round of the Pre-Classical division of the “Most Interesting Economist in History” tournament is live. Please post your votes in the discussion board.