Bifurcation in the Theory of Economic Growth

  • Badal Mukherji


In 1984 (!) two major contributions in the theory of growth were published, Marglin’s Growth, Distribution and Prices and Non-Linear Models of Fluctuating Growth, edited by Goodwin, Kruger and Vercelli (GKV, 1984). The fact that two such important books in the same area hardly every cut across each other’s paths lends some substance, I hope, to my suggestion that the theory of economic growth has gone through a bifurcation point. This study will try to analyze some of the reasons why this happened and underline what seem to be the more important and interesting features of the transition. This is not an exhaustive survey, for two reasons. For the traditional debates one has many first class discussions available, of which not the least by far is again Marglin (1984, Parts I and II). For the emergent frontiers, on the other hand, with which GKV are concerned, neither a general consensus nor a standard formalism is yet available. I shall therefore concentrate on the latter text, and a few other typical published pieces of research, focusing on analytically central issues rather than specific results. In particular, the general equilibrium structure that must underlie a growth process is found to be of major significance in understanding the evolution of growth theory. This has been a badly neglected area and I hope to show that much of growth theory makes better sense only if the accompanying, often implicit, theorizing about the general equilibrium structure is made explicit.


Labor Market Hopf Bifurcation Wage Rate Capital Good Growth Theory 
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© Joseph Halevi, David Laibman and Edward J. Nell 1992

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  • Badal Mukherji

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