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Cycles «versus» growth in schumpeter A graphical interpretation of some core theoretical remarks


  • Niels Geiger



Schumpeter’s business cycle and growth theory encompasses two distinct types of superposition. The first one is well known from its graphical representation provided in Schumpeter’s Business Cycles [1939], namely the superposition of different waves or cycles of varying magnitude. There already is an element of combination of growth (Kondratiev) and cyclical movements such as “ordinary” business cycles (Juglar) here, although the connection between these waves of different order is not elaborated. Another point which is much more rarely discussed in the literature is Schumpeter’s strict technical separation between a growth trend and cyclical waves in real-world economies. It appears as if the general interpretation of Schumpeter’s statement here has also been influenced by the aforementioned graphical representation. The argument for the distinction between underlying growth on the one hand, and cyclical elements on the other, is put forward strongly in two papers [1927; 1935] especially, but lacks a graphical sketch of the core ideas by Schumpeter himself. The present paper aims at proposing just this by interpreting Schumpeter’s logic, thereby illustrating the model in more detail and hinting at a possible inaccuracy in the Business Cycles graph.

Suggested Citation

  • Niels Geiger, 2014. "Cycles «versus» growth in schumpeter A graphical interpretation of some core theoretical remarks," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 67, pages 35-54.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2014:i:67:p:35-54

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    Business cycle theory; superposition; cycle and growth interdependence;

    JEL classification:

    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles


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