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Can Recessions be 'Productive'? Schumpeter and the Moderns


  • Muriel Dal-Pont Legrand

    University of Nice Sophia Antipolis)

  • Harald Hagemann

    (University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart)


Joseph A. Schumpeter never ceased to inspire new generations of economists. One of his major contributions concerns his view of business cycles and economic development as closely interrelated dynamics. Among the different lines of research proposed by Schumpeter in order to allow economists to capture how growth and cycle dynamics intertwine, one can find the analysis of the investment decisions during recessions. Schumpeter considered this process of Creative Destruction as “the essential fact about capitalism” since the Industrial Revolution. According to him, the process of liquidation and reallocation of productive resources taking place in the recession and particularly in the depression phase is not only an essential and unavoidable characteristics of capitalist evolution, but also necessary and, finally, beneficial for long-run development. More recently, one can notice in the literature a revival of interest for these questions. This line of research has been developed again in the 1990s by Aghion and Saint-Paul (1991, 1993, 1998) and Saint-Paul (1994) but also Caballero and Hammour (1994, 1996). They elaborated the so-called “productive recessions” analysis respectively the ‘cleansing effect’ of recessions. Focusing exclusively on neo-Schumpeterian contributions which explicitly analyze the impact recessions can have on growth, our purpose is to examine the mechanisms involved in the modern literature mentioned above and to compare them with Schumpeter’s original writings. The objective of this paper is to question the ‘Schumpeterian character’ of this recent literature and then to investigate the degree of continuity as well as the differences. Some focus will be on potential differences with regard to economic policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Muriel Dal-Pont Legrand & Harald Hagemann, 2015. "Can Recessions be 'Productive'? Schumpeter and the Moderns," GREDEG Working Papers 2015-23, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2015-23

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Castro, Vítor, 2010. "The duration of economic expansions and recessions: More than duration dependence," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 347-365, March.
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    More about this item


    business cycles; growth; creative destruction; productive recessions; Schumpeter;

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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