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  

Verena Halsmayer

University of Lucerne

Date Written: April 15, 2014

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Halsmayer, Verena, From Long-Run Utopia to Technical Expertise: Solow's Growth Model as a Multipurpose Design (April 15, 2014). The Center for the History of Political Economy (CHOPE) Working Paper No. 2014-09 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2432231 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2432231

Verena Halsmayer (Contact Author)

University of Lucerne ( email )

Hofstrasse 9
P.O. Box 7464
Luzern 7, CH - 6000
Switzerland

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