早期的的市场社会主义模式可以追溯到 亚当•史密斯的古典经济学理论，其中包括建议合作社企业的工作在一个自由市场经济中建立合作企业。 这些建议的目标是通过允许个人的按劳分配消除剥削，同时消除由少数个人大量所有社会财富造成的市场扭曲效应。 市场社会主义的在其提倡者是李嘉图社会主义经济学家和互惠（学派）哲学家。 在20世纪早期，奥斯卡兰格和阿勒纳所概述了一种新古典主义模式的社会主义，其中包括由中央规划局(CPB)在定价时等于边际成本以实现帕累托效率。 虽然这些早期的模式没有依靠真正的市场，但他们都被标记为"市场社会主义"，因为他们利用了财务价格和计算。 在美国新古典经济学家提出的最新模型中，生产资料的公有制是通过股权的股东权益和投资的社会控制来实现的。
- O'Hara, Phillip. Encyclopedia of Political Economy, Volume 2. Routledge. September 2000: 71. ISBN 978-0415241878.
Market socialism is the general designation for a number of models of economic systems. On the one hand, the market mechanism is utilized to distribute economic output, to organize production and to allocate factor inputs. On the other hand, the economic surplus accrues to society at large rather than to a class of private (capitalist) owners, through some form of collective, public or social ownership of capital.
- Buchanan, Alan E. Ethics, Efficiency and the Market. Oxford University Press US. 1985. ISBN 978-0-8476-7396-4, pp. 104–05
- Comparing Economic Systems in the Twenty-First Century, 2003, by Gregory and Stuart. ISBN 0-618-26181-8. (p. 142): "It is an economic system that combines social ownership of capital with market allocation of capital...The state owns the means of production, and returns accrue to society at large."
- Social Dividend versus Basic Income Guarantee in Market Socialism, by Marangos, John. 2004. International Journal of Political Economy, vol. 34, no. 3, Fall 2004.
- Steele, David Ramsay. From Marx to Mises: Post Capitalist Society and the Challenge of Economic Calculation. Open Court. September 1999: 177. ISBN 978-0875484495.
It was in the early 1920s that the expression ‘market socialism’ (marktsozialismus) became commonplace. A special term was considered necessary to distinguish those socialists prepared to accept some role for factor markets from the now mainstream socialists who were not.
- Roemer, John. A Future for Socialism. Harvard University Press. January 1, 1994: 28. ISBN 978-0674339460.
The first stage was marked by the realization by socialists that prices must be used for economic calculation under socialism; accounting in some kind of ‘natural unit,’ such as the amount of energy or labor commodities embodied, simply would not work. The second stage was characterized by the view that it would be possible to calculate the prices at which general equilibrium would be reached in a socialist economy by solving a complicated system of simultaneous equations… The third stage was marked by the realization, by Lange and others, that markets would indeed be required to find the socialist equilibrium…
- McNally, David. Against the Market: Political economy, market socialism and the Marxist critique. Verso. 1993: 44. ISBN 978-0-86091-606-2.
...by the 1820s, 'Smithian' apologists for industrial capitalism confronted 'Smithian' socialists in a vigorous, and often venomous, debate over political economy.