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Goodwin cycles and the U.S. economy, 1948-2004


  • Mohun, Simon
  • Veneziani, Roberto


This paper provides empirical support for an interpretation of the Goodwin growth cycle as isolating the main forces underlying distributive conflict, but in a fragile symbiotic mechanism because of endogenous forces that modify the balance of class power. Goodwin cycles are the shorter run cycles that appear around a long run motion that is the product of structural change. The paper describes long run trends in the Goodwin variables in the US corporate economy from 1948 to 2004, which exhibit both a sharp break at the beginning of the 80s, and no long run cycles. Short run detrended Goodwin cycles are identified, which broadly coincide in period and timing with the NBER dating of (the troughs of) business cycles. The paper then divides the employed nonfarm private industry labour force into supervisory and nonsupervisory workers, and focuses on the latter. The same two conclusions apply.

Suggested Citation

  • Mohun, Simon & Veneziani, Roberto, 2006. "Goodwin cycles and the U.S. economy, 1948-2004," MPRA Paper 30444, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:30444

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harvie, David, 2000. "Testing Goodwin: Growth Cycles in Ten OECD Countries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 349-376, May.
    2. Jonathan P. Goldstein, 1999. "Predator–Prey Model Estimates of the Cyclical Profit Squeeze," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 139-173, June.
    3. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
    4. Simon Mohun, 2006. "Distributive shares in the US economy, 1964--2001," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(3), pages 347-370, May.
    5. Veneziani, Roberto & Mohun, Simon, 2006. "Structural stability and Goodwin's growth cycle," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 437-451, December.
    6. Gérard Duménil & Dominique Lévy, 1993. "The Economics Of The Profit Rate," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 153.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tapia, Jose, 2015. "Profits encourage investment, investment dampens profits, government spending does not prime the pump — A DAG investigation of business-cycle dynamics," MPRA Paper 64985, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2015.
    2. Michalis Nikiforos, 2013. "Uncertainty and Contradiction: An Essay on the Business Cycle," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_770, Levy Economics Institute.
    3. Hiroaki Sasaki, 2013. "Cyclical growth in a Goodwin–Kalecki–Marx model," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 108(2), pages 145-171, March.
    4. Ben Zipperer & Peter Skott, 2011. "Cyclical patterns of employment, utilization, and profitability," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 25-58.
    5. Moura, N.J. & Ribeiro, Marcelo B., 2013. "Testing the Goodwin growth-cycle macroeconomic dynamics in Brazil," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(9), pages 2088-2103.
    6. Charpe, Matthieu & Flaschel, Peter & Hartmann, Florian & Malikane, Christopher, 2014. "Segmented Labor Markets and the Distributive Cycle: A Roadmap towards Inclusive Growth," MPRA Paper 62832, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Engelbert Stockhammer & Jo Michell, 2014. "Pseudo-Goodwin cycles in a Minsky model," Working Papers PKWP1405, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
    8. Carlo V. Fiorio & Simon Mohun & Roberto Veneziani, 2013. "Social Democracy and Distributive Conflict in the UK, 1950-2010," Working Papers 705, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    9. Armon Rezai, 2013. "Cycles of demand and distribution and monetary policy in the U.S. economy," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 231-250.
    10. Rudiger von Arnim & Jose Barrales, 2015. "Demand-driven Goodwin cycles with Kaldorian and Kaleckian features," Review of Keynesian Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 351-373, July.

    More about this item


    Goodwin growth cycle; wage share; US economy;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E11 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Marxian; Sraffian; Kaleckian
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General


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