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John Wade's early endogenous dynamic model: 'commercial cycle' and theories of crises


  • Daniele Besomi


John Wade formulated, in 1826 and 1833, two models of cyclical fluctuations most likely to be the first in the literature. They are fully endogenous, based on a cobweb-like mechanism affecting not agricultural production, as was customary at the time, but manufacture. Wade's earlier model relies on a threshold of price change before the reaction of demand and supply halts and reverses the movement, while the second is gradual and based on a delay in the producers' reaction. Wade was also among the first to claim that crises return with a certain regularity and to estimate their period. This paper examines and compares Wade's contributions to early business cycle theory, places them in context, and surveys the scanty references to this pioneering work in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniele Besomi, 2008. "John Wade's early endogenous dynamic model: 'commercial cycle' and theories of crises," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 611-639.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:15:y:2008:i:4:p:611-639
    DOI: 10.1080/09672560802480971

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