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Concentric circles of limits to the rate of accumulation: an interpretation of Joan Robinson's theory of economic dynamics


  • Roger Backhouse


In addition to her well-known contributions to the theory of capital, Joan Robinson provided, in her Accumulation of Capital and Essays in the Theory of Economic Growth, a theory about the determinants of the rate of growth. The growth rate was limited by entrepreneurs' animal spirits. Within that constraint, growth might be further limited by the inflation barrier, which could occur either because of a floor to real wages or because of full employment. This paper provides a series of simple dynamic models that illustrate these situations, drawing attention to this neglected aspect of her work and making it easier to compare her work with the monetary growth models produced by her neoclassical contemporaries.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Backhouse, 2003. "Concentric circles of limits to the rate of accumulation: an interpretation of Joan Robinson's theory of economic dynamics," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 457-466.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:15:y:2003:i:4:p:457-466
    DOI: 10.1080/0953825032000121414

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James Tobin, 1955. "A Dynamic Aggregative Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 103-103.
    2. Nagatani, Keizo, 1969. "A Monetary Growth Model with Variable Employment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(2), pages 188-206, May.
    3. Jerome L. Stein, 1966. "Money and Capacity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 451-451.
    4. Joan Robinson, 1975. "The Unimportance of Reswitching," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 89(1), pages 32-39.
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