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Technical Change, Effective Demand and Employment


  • Sergio Cesaratto
  • Franklin Serrano
  • Antonella Stirati


Ricardo and Marx saw technological change as a possible cause of long-period unemployment. Neoclassical and Schumpeterian economists regard technological unem ployment as a transitory phenomenon. This paper argues that the capital critique (i) demolishes the neoclassical claim that market mechanisms will restore full employment whenever workers are displaced by technical change, and (ii) rehabilitates the old Ricardian argument that automatic compensation factors are generally absent. The neo-Schumpeterian notion of autonomous investment is also rejected, in favour of the view that, in the long period, all investment is induced. By extending Keynes's theory of effective demand to the long period through a model based on the supermultiplier, this paper suggests that the ultimate engines of growth are located in the autonomous components of effective demand--exports, government spending and autonomous con sumption. Technical change plays a role in the accumulation process through its effects on consumption patterns and the material input requirements. However, the impact of technical change is now seen to depend upon circumstances such as income distribution, the availability of bank liquidity and exchange rate policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Sergio Cesaratto & Franklin Serrano & Antonella Stirati, 2003. "Technical Change, Effective Demand and Employment," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 33-52.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:15:y:2003:i:1:p:33-52 DOI: 10.1080/09538250308444

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cesaratto, Sergio, 1999. "Savings and Economic Growth in Neoclassical Theory," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(6), pages 771-793, November.
    2. Kaldor, Nicholas, 1971. "Conflicts in National Economic Objectives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 81(321), pages 1-16, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Anyadike-Danes, Michael & Godley, Wynne, 1989. "Real Wages and Employment: A Sceptical View of Some Recent Empirical Work," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 57(2), pages 172-187, June.
    5. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1986. "Wage Setting, Unemployment, and Insider-Outsider Relations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 235-239, May.
    6. Pierangelo Garegnani & Antonella Palumbo, 1997. "Accomulation of capital," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0002, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
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    Cited by:

    1. Girardi , Daniele & Pariboni, Riccardo, 2015. "Autonomous demand and economic growth: some empirical evidence," Centro Sraffa Working Papers CSWP13, Centro di Ricerche e Documentazione "Piero Sraffa".
    2. Matteo Deleidi & Walter Paternesi Meloni, "undated". "Italian economic trends and labor market reforms: a 50-years overview," Working Papers 0012, ASTRIL - Associazione Studi e Ricerche Interdisciplinari sul Lavoro.
    3. Sergio Cesaratto, 2009. "Endogenous growth theory twenty years on: a critical assessment," Department of Economics University of Siena 559, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    4. White, Graham, 2005. "Growth, Autonomous Demand and a Joint-Product Treatment of Fixed Capit al," Working Papers 8, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    5. Sergio Cesaratto, 2012. "Neo-Kaleckian and Sraffian controversies on accumulation theory," Department of Economics University of Siena 650, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    6. Aspromourgos, Tony, 2014. "Thomas Piketty, the Future of Capitalism and the Theory of Distribution: a Review Essay," Centro Sraffa Working Papers CSWP7, Centro di Ricerche e Documentazione "Piero Sraffa".
    7. Tony Aspromourgos, 2004. "Sraffian research programmes and unorthodox economics," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 179-206.
    8. Franklin Serrano & Fabio Freitas, 2016. "Growth Rate And Level Effects, The Adjustment Of Capacity To Demand And The Sraffian Supermultiplier," Anais do XLII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 42ndd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 087, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    9. Tommaso Ciarli & André Lorentz & Maria Savona & Marco Valente, 2010. "The Effect Of Consumption And Production Structure On Growth And Distribution. A Micro To Macro Model," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 180-218, February.
    10. Tommaso Ciarli & Andre' Lorentz & Maria Savona & Marco Valente, 2012. "The role of technology, organisation, and demand in growth and income distribution," LEM Papers Series 2012/06, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    11. Sergio Cesaratto, 2017. "Beyond the traditional monetary circuit: endogenous money, finance and the theory of long-period effective demand," Department of Economics University of Siena 757, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    12. White, Graham, 2008. "Demand-led growth with debt constraints," Working Papers 2008-01, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    13. Tony Aspromourgos, 2015. "Thomas Piketty, the Future of Capitalism and the Theory of Distribution: A Review Essay," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 284-305, May.
    14. Cesaratto, Sergio, 2017. "Garegnani, Ackley and the years of high theory at Svimez," Centro Sraffa Working Papers CSWP26, Centro di Ricerche e Documentazione "Piero Sraffa".
    15. Mehdi Ben Guirat & Corinne Pastoret, 2012. "Breaking the Economic Dependence of Developing Countries to Promote Economic Development and Full Employment: The Case of the Maghreb Countries," Chapters,in: Employment, Growth and Development, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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