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The Kaldor/Knight controversy: Is capital a distinct and quantifiable factor of production?

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  • Avi Cohen
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    Abstract

    Controversy focuses on three questions: Is capital a distinct factor of production? Is capital quantifiable in a theoretically consistent manner? Are process stories necessary around convergence to, or changes in, equilibrium interest rates? To all, Kaldor answers 'yes' to Knight's 'no'. The controversy is historically important in: 1) shifting issues in recurring twentieth century capital theory controversies from periods of production to production functions, from roundaboutness to diminishing returns; 2) revealing Knight's position on increasing knowledge offsetting diminishing returns over time as an unacknowledged 'precursor' of new growth theory; 3) marking the turning point for Kaldor's attachment to Austrian theory.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

    Volume (Year): 13 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 141-161

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:13:y:2006:i:1:p:141-161

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    Keywords: Kaldor; Knight; capital; production functions; Austrian capital theory; diminishing returns;

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    1. Harcourt, G C, 1969. "Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 369-405, June.
    2. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
    3. Peter Boettke & Karen Vaughn, 2002. "Knight and the Austrians on Capital, and the Problem of Socialism," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 155-176, Spring.
    4. Milgate, Murray, 1979. "On the Origin of the Notion of "Intertemporal Equilibrium"," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 46(181), pages 1-10, February.
    5. A. Cohen & G. Harcourt., 2009. "Whatever Happened to the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 8.
    6. Christian Gehrke, 2003. "The Ricardo Effect: Its Meaning and Validity," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 143-158, February.
    7. Harald Hagemann & Hans-Michael Trautwein, 1998. "Cantillon and Ricardo effects: Hayek's contributions to business cycle theory," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 292-316.
    8. Targetti, Ferdinando, 1992. "Nicholas Kaldor: The Economics and Politics of Capitalism as a Dynamic System," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198283485, October.
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