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Smith, Marshall and Young on division of labour and economic growth

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  • Andrea Lavezzi

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to reconstruct the theory of division of labour and economic growth proposed by Adam Smith and developed by Alfred Marshall and Allyn Young. In their approach division of labour is the main engine of growth and plays a central role in capital accumulation and technological progress. We suggest that, according to their theory: 1) economic growth is endogenous; 2) it has the nature of a cumulative, path-dependent process; and 3) it can be described as a disequilibrium process, supported by competitive forces. We argue that these aspects make the contributions of Smith, Marshall and Young still insightful for the development of growth theory, even in the light of the modern approach of endogenous growth theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Lavezzi, 2003. "Smith, Marshall and Young on division of labour and economic growth," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 81-108.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:10:y:2003:i:1:p:81-108
    DOI: 10.1080/0967256032000043805
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Tinel, 2013. "Why and how do capitalists divide labor? From Marglin and back again through Babbage and Marx," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00763837, HAL.
    2. Neri Salvadori & Rodolfo Signorino, 2013. "The Classical Notion of Competition Revisited," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 149-175, Spring.
    3. Perala, Maiju, 2003. "'Looking at the Other Side of the Coin': The Relationship between Classical Growth and Early Development Theories," WIDER Working Paper Series 038, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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