From Long-Run Utopia to Technical Expertise: Solow's Growth Model as a Multipurpose Design
The Center for the History of Political Economy (CHOPE) Working Paper No. 2014-09
25 Pages Posted: 4 May 2014
Date Written: April 15, 2014
Combining concrete policy-oriented modeling strategies of World War II with what was received as traditional neoclassical theory, in 1956 Robert Solow constructed a simple, clean, and smooth-functioning “design” model that served many different purposes. As a working object it enabled experimentation with long-run equilibrium growth. As an instrument of measurement it was applied to time series data. As a prototype it was supposed to feed into larger-scale econometric models that were, in turn, thought of as technologies for policy advice. Used as a teaching device, Solow’s design became a medium of “spreading the technique,” and one of the symbols for neoclassical macroeconomics that soon became associated with MIT.
Keywords: model, modeling, Robert Solow, growth theory, growth, neoclassical growth model, linear
JEL Classification: B22, B23, B31, B40, O4, Z1
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