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The Italian contribution to early economic dynamics

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Contrary to the prevailing literature, the study of economic dynamics began at the end of the nineteenth century, at least four decades before Hayek's and Samuelson's essays on dynamic equilibrium, as Pareto's dynamic insights prove. Throughout this early phase of the discipline, economists interested in dynamic studies put forward a wide spectrum of suggestions. This paper investigates the lines of research that sprang from the Italian debate either according to or in opposition to the Paretian mechanistic legacy, aiming to show that a growing awareness of subjective variables' role weakened the mechanistic faith of the strictly Paretian followers, pushing them toward probabilistic analysis, anchoring dynamics to uncertainty and disequilibrium.
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Keywords: Dynamic economic equilibrium; Pareto and Italian economists; disequilibrium; mental variables

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2009

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