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On the Utilization Controversy: A Theoretical and Empirical Discussion of the Kaleckian Model of Growth and Distribution

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  • Michalis Nikiforos

Abstract

This paper examines the "utilization controversy" around the Kaleckian model of growth and distribution. We show that the Federal Reserve data on capacity utilization, which have been used by both sides of this debate, are the wrong kind of data for the issue under examination. Instead, a more appropriate measurement can be derived from the data on the Average Workweek of Capital. We argue that the long-run dynamic adjustment proposed by Kaleckian scholars lacks a coherent economic rationale, and provide an alternative path toward the endogeneity of the desired utilization at the micro and macro levels. Finally, we examine the proposed adjustment mechanism econometrically. Our results verify the endogeneity of the normal utilization rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Michalis Nikiforos, 2012. "On the Utilization Controversy: A Theoretical and Empirical Discussion of the Kaleckian Model of Growth and Distribution," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_739, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_739
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    1. Marc Lavoie & Gabriel Rodriguez & Mario Seccareccia, 2004. "Similitudes and Discrepancies in Post-Keynesian and Marxist Theories of Investment: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 127-149.
    2. Shapiro, Matthew D, 1986. "Capital Utilization and Capital Accumulation: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(3), pages 211-234, July.
    3. Michalis Nikiforos, 2013. "The (Normal) Rate of Capacity Utilization at the Firm Level," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 513-538, July.
    4. Antoine Bonleu & Gilbert Cette & Guillaume Horny, 2013. "Capital utilization and retirement," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(24), pages 3483-3494, August.
    5. Lavoie, Marc, 1995. "The Kaleckian Model of Growth and Distribution and Its Neo-Ricardian and Neo-Marxian Critiques," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(6), pages 789-818, December.
    6. Winston, Gordon C, 1974. "The Theory of Capital Utilization and Idleness," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1301-1320, December.
    7. Berndt, Ernst R & Morrison, Catherine J, 1981. "Capacity Utilization Measures: Underlying Economic Theory and an Alternative Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 48-52, May.
    8. Betancourt,Roger R. & Clague,Christopher K., 2008. "Capital Utilization," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521070287.
    9. Catherine J. Morrison, 1985. "On the Economic Interpretation and Measurement of Optimal Capacity Utilization with Anticipatory Expectations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 295-309.
    10. Anwar Shaikh, 2009. "Economic Policy In A Growth Context: A Classical Synthesis Of Keynes And Harrod," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 455-494, July.
    11. Dutt, Amitava Krishna, 1984. "Stagnation, Income Distribution and Monopoly Power," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 25-40, March.
    12. Norman J. Morin & John J. Stevens, 2004. "Estimating capacity utilization from survey data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    13. Michalis Nikiforos & Duncan K. Foley, 2012. "Distribution And Capacity Utilization: Conceptual Issues And Empirical Evidence," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 200-229, February.
    14. Eckhard Hein & Marc Lavoie & Till van Treeck, 2012. "Harrodian Instability And The ‘Normal Rate’ Of Capacity Utilization In Kaleckian Models Of Distribution And Growth—A Survey," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 139-169, February.
    15. Lawrence R. Klein, 1958. "The Measurement of Capacity," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 49, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marwil J. Dávila-Fernández & Serena Sordi, 2017. "Distributive cycles and endogenous technical change in a BoPC growth model," Department of Economics University of Siena 760, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Michalis Nikiforos, 2013. "The (Normal) Rate of Capacity Utilization at the Firm Level," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 513-538, July.
    3. Emanuele Russo, 2017. "Harrodian instability in decentralized economies: an agent-based approach," LEM Papers Series 2017/17, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    4. Greg Hannsgen, 2014. "Fiscal Policy, Chartal Money, Mark-up Dynamics and Unemployment Insurance in a Model of Growth and Distribution," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 487-523, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Kaleckian; Long Run; Economies of Scale; Utilization;

    JEL classification:

    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity

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