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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 17 No. 1 (Winter 2003)

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Retrospectives: Whatever Happened to the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies?

Article Citation

Cohen, Avi J., and G. C. Harcourt. 2003. "Retrospectives: Whatever Happened to the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies? ." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17(1): 199-214.

DOI: 10.1257/089533003321165010

Abstract

We argue that the Cambridge capital theory controversies of the 1950s to 1970s were the latest in a series of still-unresolved controversies over three deep issues: explaining and justifying the return to capital; Joan Robinson's complaint that, due to path dependence, equilibrium is not an outcome of an economic process and therefore an inadequate tool for analyzing accumulation and growth; and the role of ideology and vision in fuelling controversy when results of simple models are not robust. We predict these important and relevant issues, latent in endogenous growth and real business cycle theories, will erupt in future controversy.

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Authors

Cohen, Avi J.
Harcourt, G. C.

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