The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Michael Schneider
Reference work entry


‘Underconsumption’ is the label given to theories which attribute the failure of the total output of an economy to continue to be sold at its cost of production (including normal profit) to too low a ratio of consumption to output. According to underconsumption theories, such deficient consumption leads either to goods being able to be sold only at below-normal rates of profit, or to goods not being able to be sold at all. These effects are seen as leading in turn to cutbacks in production and increases in unemployment. Underconsumption theories are thus amongst those which seek to explain cyclical or secular declines in the rate of economic growth.


Acceleration principle Aggregate demand Baran, P. A. Catchings, W. Clark, J. B. Disproportionate production Emmanuel, A. Harrod–Domar growth model Hoarding Hobson, J. A. Imperialism Kautsky, K. Keynesianism Lauderdale, Eighth Earl of Lenin, V. I. Luxemburg, R. Malthus, T. R. Marx, K. H. Redistribution of income Rodbertus, J. K. Saving equals investment Sismondi, J. C. L. S. de Sweezy, P.M. Underconsumption Underconsumptionism Wages fund 

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Schneider
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