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Growth and Distribution

Duncan K. Foley, Thomas R. Michl, Daniele Tavani
Harvard University Press, 2019
Level: expert
Perspective: Marxian Political Economy, Neoclassical Economics, Post-Keynesian Economics
Topic: (De-)growth, Criticism of Capitalism, Inequality & Class, Innovation & Technology, Macroeconomics, Reflection of Economics, Resources, Environment & Climate
page count: 416 pages
ISBN: 9780674986428


A major revision of an established textbook on the theory, measurement, and history of economic growth, with new material on climate change, corporate capitalism, and innovation. Authors Duncan Foley, Thomas Michl, and Daniele Tavani present Classical and Keynesian approaches to growth theory, in parallel with Neoclassical ones, and introduce students to advanced tools of intertemporal economic analysis through carefully developed treatments of land- and resource-limited growth. They cover corporate finance, the impact of government debt and social security systems, theories of endogenous technical change, and the implications of climate change. Without excessive formal complication, the models emphasize rigorous reasoning from basic economic principles and insights, and respond to students' interest in the history and policy dilemmas of real-world economies. In addition to carefully worked out examples showing how to use the analytical techniques presented, Growth and Distribution presents many problems suitable for inclusion in problem sets and examinations. Detailed answers to these problems are available. This second edition includes fresh data throughout and new chapters on climate change, corporate capitalism, models of wealth inequality, and technical change.

Book summary

Within the heterodox field, one of the most active topics is related to the theory of economic growth and distribution. This is a textbook for advance undergraduate and graduate students. Throughout its 18 chapters, Classical, Neoclassical and post-Keynesian models are developed. Each chapter contains study problems and suggested readings for those who would like to deepen their knowledge in certain topics. The book incorporates discussions about technical change, demand-driven growth, public debt, wealth inequality, and climate change, which add a comprehensive view of current issues that dominate public debate. This new edition features a third author, Daniel Tavani who, together with Duncan Foley and Thomas Michl, bring an interesting amalgam of two generations of economists. The book has its own website, where readers can access teaching materials, dataset, and problem solutions. In addition, in this website it can be found updates from authors' work.

Comment from our editors:

Twenty years after the first edition, an updated version is now available. The timing cannot be more perfect. After the Great Recession, efforts to promote the teaching of heterodox perspective is crucial to guide and inspire young scholars upset by the still dominant view of neoclassic theories. It would be interesting to see a future edition with contents that incorporate gender inequality and racial discrimination. Or perhaps this would be the core of a new book, where assumptions that reflects structural development problems in the Global South capitalism can be further discussed.

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