Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 193: Economic Growth in the very Long Run. On the Multiple-Phase Interaction of Population, Technology, and Social Infrastructure

Richard H. Day and Jean-Luc Walter
Additional contact information
Richard H. Day: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
Jean-Luc Walter: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Abstract: Economic growth in the very long run is described by a multiple-phase, dynamic process with potentially complex dynamics during transitions between regimes. Technology is assumed to rest on a managerial-administrative infrastructure which influences natality, mortality and the productivity of work. A given population adopts a temporarily efficient techno-infrastructure and determines the population of its heirs. Growth can occur within a regime by the reorganization of population into new groups. But this process cannot continue forever because of externalities. A way out exists in the adoption of an entirely new regime. Evolution is possible but the probability of escape from an old regime need not be unity. Fluctuations can occur with or without re-switching and under certain conditions a population can be trapped in a complex pattern of growth, fluctuation, re-switching and collapse. It is shown that realistic scenarios can be generated by the model. The paper concludes with a formal analysis of the possible events and the construction of probabilities that describe the chance that given phases will switch and that various kinds of qualitative histories can unfold.

Keywords: Neoclassical Economics; Evolutionary Theory; decision methods; knowledge; resource allocation

JEL-codes: B13; B25

55 pages, June 1988

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