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The origins, development, and fate of Clower's stock-flow general equilibrium program

Plassard, Romain (2015): The origins, development, and fate of Clower's stock-flow general equilibrium program.

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Abstract

Before becoming the hallmark of macroeconomics à la Wynne Godley, the ‘stock-flow’ analysis was already developed in microeconomics and general equilibrium theory. Basically, the goal was to study the formation of economic plans and the determination of market prices when individuals were supposed to consume, produce, and hold commodities. It is acknowledged that Robert W. Clower was a central figure in this theoretical context. Yet, for both his contemporaries and for historians, his contributions remained essentially technical. No attention was paid to the theoretical project underlying the statics and dynamics analyses of his ‘stock-flow’ price theory. My paper aims to fill this gap. In light of his doctoral dissertation, I show that the elaboration of ‘stock-flow’ market models was part of a project aiming at offering sound microfoundations to a Keynesian business cycle model. I analyze the origins of this microfoundation program, trace its development, and discuss its fate.

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