Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume III
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Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume III

Developments in Major Fields of Economics

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume III contains entries on the development of major fields in economics from the inception of systematic analysis until modern times. The reader is provided with succinct summary accounts of the main problems, the methods used to address them and the results obtained across time. The emphasis is on both the continuity and the major changes that have occurred in the economic analysis of problematic issues such as economic growth, income distribution, employment, inflation, business cycles and financial instability. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.
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Chapter 23: Input–output analysis

Guido Erreygers


Input–output analysis is a technique developed for the study of interdependencies between sectors or industries of an economy. It is based on a system of linear equations which describe the existing relations between the inputs (or means of production) and outputs (or products) of all sectors of an economy. The framework has proved very successful in applied economic research. Nowadays, input–output economics covers a very broad area of research. Good overviews of the literature can be found in the collection of articles edited by Kurz et al. (1998), in Miller and Blair’s (2009) textbook, and in Ten Raa (2005). The International Input–Output Association (IIOA), founded in 1988, is the main network of economists working in the field (www.iioa.org). It publishes the journal Economic Systems Research. It is customary to trace the origins of input–output analysis to the work of Nobel laureate Wassily Leontief (1905–1999). Leontief wrote a PhD dissertation at the University of Berlin under the supervision of Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz (1868–1931). In 1928 he published part of his work (in German) as an article with the title “The economy as a circular process”. After moving to Harvard University he further elaborated his model, and started to collect the data for the first input–output table of the United States economy. This led to the 1936 article “Quantitative input–output relations in the economic system of the United States” and then to his 1941 book The Structure of American Economy, 1919–1939. An Empirical Application of Equilibrium Analysis.

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