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On the Cambridge, England, Critique of the Marginal Productivity Theory of Distribution

Listed author(s):
  • G. C. Harcourt

    (School of Economics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia)

The Cambridge critique of the marginal productivity theory of distribution is entwined with the critics’ theories of value, price, distribution, capital, growth, and methodology that occurred alongside it. The article first discusses these dimensions, then the inescapable need to explain the origin and size and rate of profits in any approach to the theory of distribution. The need in the neoclassical approach to have a unit in which to measure capital that is independent of distribution and prices is examined. The alternative classical/Marxian alternative and the relationship of pricing and market structures to systemic relationships in Post-Keynesian theory are analysed. Unresolved debates among the critics of the mainstream are outlined including those between Garegnani and Hahn. Ways forward are suggested in the concluding section.

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File URL: http://rrp.sagepub.com/content/47/2/243.abstract
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Article provided by Union for Radical Political Economics in its journal Review of Radical Political Economics.

Volume (Year): 47 (2015)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 243-255

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Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:47:y:2015:i:2:p:243-255
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.urpe.org/

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  1. Avi J. Cohen, 2003. "Retrospectives: Whatever Happened to the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 199-214, Winter.
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  3. Hahn, Frank, 1982. "The Neo-Ricardians," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 353-374, December.
  4. Joan Robinson, 1975. "The Unimportance of Reswitching," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 89(1), pages 32-39.
  5. G. C. Harcourt, 1981. "Marshall, Sraffa and Keynes: Incompatible Bedfellows," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 39-50, Jan-Mar.
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  7. Pasinetti, Luigi L, 1969. "Switches of Technique and the "Rate of Return" in Capital Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 79(315), pages 508-531, September.
  8. Mandler, Michael, 2001. "Dilemmas in Economic Theory: Persisting Foundational Problems of Microeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195145755, April.
  9. Harcourt,G. C., 1972. "Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521096720.
  10. P. Garegnani, 1970. "A Reply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 439-439.
  11. Pierangelo Garegnani, 2005. "Capital And Intertemporal Equilibria: A Reply To Mandler ," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(4), pages 411-437, November.
  12. Andrés Lazzarini, 2015. "Some Unsettled Issues in a Second Phase of the Cambridge-Cambridge Controversy," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 47(2), pages 256-273, June.
  13. Bertram Schefold, 2013. "Approximate surrogate production functions," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(5), pages 1161-1184.
  14. Harris, Donald J, 1975. "The Theory of Economic Growth: A Critique and Reformulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 329-337, May.
  15. Simon, Herbert A, 1979. "Rational Decision Making in Business Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 493-513, September.
  16. Michael Mandler, 2002. "Classical and Neoclassical Indeterminacy in One-shot Versus Ongoing Equilibria," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 203-222, 08.
  17. Paul A. Samuelson, 1975. "Steady-State and Transient Relations: A Reply on Reswitching," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 89(1), pages 40-47.
  18. P. Garegnani, 1970. "Heterogeneous Capital, the Production Function and the Theory of Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 407-436.
  19. Ronald L. Meek, 1961. "Mr. Sraffa'S Rehabilitation Of Classical Economics1," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 8(2), pages 119-136, 06.
  20. Fisher, Franklin M, 1971. "Aggregate Production Functions and the Explanation of Wages: A Simulation Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(4), pages 305-325, November.
  21. Bhaduri, Amit & Robinson, Joan, 1980. "Accumulation and Exploitation: An Analysis in the Tradition of Marx, Sraffa and Kalecki," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 103-115, June.
  22. Pierangelo Garegnani, 2012. "On the present state of the capital controversy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(6), pages 1417-1432.
  23. Shaikh, Anwar, 1974. "Laws of Production and Laws of Algebra: The Humbug Production Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 115-120, February.
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  25. Hahn, F H, 1975. "Revival of Political Economy: The Wrong Issues and the Wrong Argument," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 51(135), pages 360-364, September.
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