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Trevor Swan and the Neoclassical Growth Model

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  • Robert W. Dimand
  • Barbara J. Spencer

Abstract

The independent contributions of Robert Solow and the Australian economist Trevor Swan in developing the neoclassical growth model are sometimes recognized by reference to the “Solow-Swan” model, but often reference is made only to the “Solow” model. Both Solow (1956) and Swan (1956) created a simple, convenient, and powerful apparatus for finding the steady-state growth path of a one-commodity world. This paper examines the differences and similarities between Swan's and Solow's analysis and diagrams, the reasons why Solow's version received more attention, and, drawing on Swan's unpublished papers, the place of Swan's growth model in his intellectual development.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert W. Dimand & Barbara J. Spencer, 2009. "Trevor Swan and the Neoclassical Growth Model," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 107-126, Supplemen.
  • Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:41:y:2009:i:5:p:107-126
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Dixon, 2003. "Trevor Swan on Equilibrium Growth with Technical Progress," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(247), pages 487-490, December.
    2. Nicholas Kaldor, 1955. "Alternative Theories of Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 83-100.
    3. T. W. Swan, 1940. "Australian War Finance And Banking Policy," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 16(1), pages 50-67, June.
    4. J. v. Neumann, 1945. "A Model of General Economic Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-9.
    5. W. E. G. Salter, 1959. "THE PRODUCTION FUNCTION and THE DURABILITY OF CAPITAL1," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 35(70), pages 47-66, April.
    6. Swan, T W, 1989. "The Principle of Effective Demand--A 'Real Life' Model," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 65(191), pages 378-398, December.
    7. T. W. Swan, 1950. "Progress Report On The Trade Cycle," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 26(51), pages 186-200, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rainer Klump & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2012. "The Normalized Ces Production Function: Theory And Empirics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(5), pages 769-799, December.
    2. Matheus Assaf, 2017. "Coast to Coast: How MIT's students linked the Solow model and optimal growth theory," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2017_20, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    3. Selwyn Cornish & Raghbendra Jha, 2016. "Trevor Swan and Indian planning: The lessons of 1958/59," Departmental Working Papers 2016-19, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    4. Voosholz, Frauke, 2014. "A survey on modeling economic growth. With special interest on natural resource use," CAWM Discussion Papers 69, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
    5. Laurent Cellarier & Richard Day, 2011. "Structural instability and alternative development scenarios," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 1165-1180, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trevor Swan; neoclassical growth model; Robert Solow;

    JEL classification:

    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • B3 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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