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Harrod on the classification of technological progress. The origin of a wild-goose chase

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  • D. BESOMI

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Abstract

From the 1930s to the 1970s many economists debated the classification of technological progress into neutral, labour- or capital-saving inventions. One of them was R.F. Harrod, who defined neutral inventions as those in which the capital-output ratio remains unaffected at a certain rate of interest. The present work examines the origin and development of Harrod’s notion of neutrality, illustrating how it was characterised, what conceptual framework it presupposed, and what function it played within his dynamic economics.

Suggested Citation

  • D. Besomi, 1999. "Harrod on the classification of technological progress. The origin of a wild-goose chase," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 52(208), pages 95-117.
  • Handle: RePEc:psl:bnlqrr:1999:14
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    File URL: http://ojs.uniroma1.it/index.php/PSLQuarterlyReview/article/view/10623/10507
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. J. A. Kregel, 1980. "Economic Dynamics and the Theory of Steady Growth: An Historical Essay on Harrod's ‘Knife-edge'," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 97-123, Spring.
    2. T. W. Swan, 1956. "ECONOMIC GROWTH and CAPITAL ACCUMULATION," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 32(2), pages 334-361, November.
    3. H. Uzawa, 1961. "Neutral Inventions and the Stability of Growth Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 117-124.
    4. James Tobin, 1955. "A Dynamic Aggregative Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 103-103.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudia Heller, 2003. "Technical progress in Joan Robinson's view: an attempt at systematisation and formalisation," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 521-544.
    2. Gary Jefferson, 2017. "Reformulating Technical Change and Growth Theory," Working Papers 111, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
    3. Antonelli, Cristiano, 2006. "Localized technological change and factor markets: constraints and inducements to innovation," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 224-247, June.
    4. Gary Jefferson, 2016. "Growth Theory and Growth Accounting: Reformulating Our Understanding of Growth," Working Papers 106, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Beliefs; opinions and attitudes; Economists; Production functions (Economics); Harrod; R.F.;

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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