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Fluctuations in the momentum of growth within the capitalist epoch

  • Angus Maddison


    (Faculty of Economics, University of Groningen, 9700 AH Groningen, The Netherlands)

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This paper reviews the history of cyclical and long wave analysis and examines the evidence on changes in the momentum of economic growth in 16 advanced capitalist countries from 1820 to 2001. It assesses the work of the main Business Cycle Research Institutes in Western Europe the USA and Russia, as well as that of Kondratieff, Kuznets, Schumpeter, Abramovitz and the long-wave revivalists-Rostow, Mandel and Mensch. It concludes that the existence of regular long-term rhythms in capitalist development is not proven, but distinguishes major changes in the momentum of growth due to disturbances of an ad hoc character. The role of system shocks and historical accidents is important but the role of policy error and success is also emphasised. It identifies five major phases of capitalist development since 1820.

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Article provided by Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) in its journal Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History.

Volume (Year): 1 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 145-175

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Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:1:y:2007:i:2:p:145-175
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