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Who is Going to Kiss Sleeping Beauty? On the 'Classical' Analytical Origins and Perspectives of Input-Output Analysis


  • Heinz Kurz


The paper argues that input-output analysis existed long before it received its name and Wassily Leontief made it popular as a tool of empirical analysis and a foundation of economic policy. It grew out of an attempt to ascertain the capacity of an economic system to reproduce itself and generate a surplus that can be used for various purposes. Primitive pronouncements are encountered in early civilizations, for example Mesopotamia, in terms of the ratio of the amount of grain produced and the amount of it used up, directly and indirectly. These ideas reappeared in a more sophisticated form at the time of the inception of systematic economic analysis in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe and found a two-sector expression in Francois Quesnay's Tableau economique. The material input-output structure was then considered the core of the economic system that contained one of the keys to basically all other important economic phenomena and magnitudes. The way in which the potentialities embodied in the input-output structure, conceived as a system of production, have, or have not, been exploited over time define both the problems and perspectives of contemporary input-output analysis. Three aspects will be scrutinized more closely: the problem of value added, the treatment of fixed capital and the problem of technical change. Happily enough, while the problems are huge, the prospects are encouraging. There is no fear that input-output analysts will soon have to look for new fields of research because the old ones have been exhausted.

Suggested Citation

  • Heinz Kurz, 2011. "Who is Going to Kiss Sleeping Beauty? On the 'Classical' Analytical Origins and Perspectives of Input-Output Analysis," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 25-47.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:23:y:2011:i:1:p:25-47
    DOI: 10.1080/09538259.2011.526292

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    Cited by:

    1. Lee, Frederic, 2011. "Heterodox surplus approach: production, prices, and value theory," MPRA Paper 31824, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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