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The Dynamics of Economic Growth in Jevons' the Coal Question: A Classical Approach?


  • Lesourd, J.-B.
  • Schilizzi, S.G.M.


The dynamics of industrial growth in Jevons' The Coal Question is developed in two directions. Malthus' dynamics of the supply of subsistence and population growth is transposed into one between coal supply and economic growth. A second influence lies with the dynamic evolution of Ricardian comparative advantages in the international trade of coal and other commodities. Through Stuart Mill's outlook on long term growth, and some disbelief in technical progress, The Coal Question concludes in predicting a final stationary state. In this work, Jevons appears as a forerunner of contemporary debates on the sustainability of economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Lesourd, J.-B. & Schilizzi, S.G.M., 1997. "The Dynamics of Economic Growth in Jevons' the Coal Question: A Classical Approach?," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 97c05, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:aixmeq:97c05

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    JEL classification:

    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies


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