Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract For the purpose of describing change in an economy's structure, and addressing issues of transformation, the notion of a time-dependent macroeconomic potential function is introduced. It penalizes deviations from equilibrium (entrepreneurial error) and induces moves toward equilibrium. Thus, from the concept of a potential function is derived the concept of short-term and long-term change forces. We focus here on the long-term structural changes of an economy as distinct from short-term cyclical variations, and we represent economic transformations as phase-transitions between monostable and ambiguous bistable states of the economy. One important feature of the potential function approach is that the parameter of the potential can be determined from empirical data. In particular, the parameters can be regressed for input variables. Hence, a relationship has been established between the structural change force and a set of input variables, some of which are controlled in part by either public or private sector agents. The method has been applied to West German and United States industry data for 1950–1980.
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