Immanuel Kant and Endogenous Growth Theory

16 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2016

See all articles by Gabriel Fagan

Gabriel Fagan

European Central Bank (ECB)

Vitor Gaspar

European Commission

Peter McAdam

European Central Bank (ECB)

Date Written: November 2016

Abstract

Despite the modern origins of endogenous growth theory, we argue that the ‘Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Aim’ written by Immanuel Kant in 1784 provides an early and coherent example of such a theory. Kant's endogenous growth mechanism is driven by the inherent rivalry that exists between agents which increases effort and strengthens the accumulation of knowledge, which in turn is carried through generations. In an exercise in ‘rational reconstruction’, we present a mathematical model of Kant's mechanism. We use the model to contribute to the contemporary policy debate as to whether ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ leads to excessive effort.

Suggested Citation

Fagan, Gabriel and Gaspar, Vitor and McAdam, Peter, Immanuel Kant and Endogenous Growth Theory (November 2016). Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 63, Issue 5, pp. 427-442, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2847411 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sjpe.12099

Gabriel Fagan (Contact Author)

European Central Bank (ECB) ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 22
Frankfurt am Main, 60314
Germany
0049 69 13440 (Phone)
0044 69 1344 6000 (Fax)

Vitor Gaspar

European Commission ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 22
Frankfurt am Main, 60314
Germany
+49 69 1344 7200 (Phone)
+49 69 1344 6575 (Fax)

Peter McAdam

European Central Bank (ECB) ( email )

Kaiserstrasse 29
Eurotower
D-60311 Frankfurt am Main
Germany
0049 69 13440 (Phone)
0044 69 1344 6000 (Fax)

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