What Remains of the Cambridge Critique? On Professor Schefold’s Theses

CSWP 50 (July 2021)

Author Fabio Petri

Keywords capital theory; Cambridge critique; random matrices; aggregate production function

JEL B13; B51; E25

Professor Bertram Schefold’s recent papers on capital theory and the Cambridge critique argue that the very low likelihood of reswitching and reverse capital deepening that appears to emerge from empirical input-output tables is confirmed by theoretical results; these results, he concludes, largely rehabilitate traditional neoclassical views on capital and show that the Sraffian critics’ insistence on reverse capital deepening as a fundamental criticism of neoclassical theory is misplaced. The present paper raises doubts about these arguments. In particular Professor Schefold does not give adequate consideration to the ‘supply-side’ problems with the measurability and the given endowment of the traditional notion of capital as a single factor. On the empirical evidence based on input-output tables, I agree with Professor Kurz that it suffers from very serious weaknesses. The more recent argument for an extremely low likelihood of double switching, advanced in Schefold (2016) and (2017), appears criticisable too.

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