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Time scales and mechanisms of economic cycles: a review of theories of long waves*

Lucas Bernard, Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, Thomas I. Palley and Willi Semmler

Keywords: cycles; production cycles; infrastructure cycles; accelerator-multiplier mechanism; innovation cycles; financial crisis; booms and busts; Goodwin; Kalecki; Minsky; asset price-leveraging cycles; Kaldor; Kuznets; Kondratieff

This paper explores long wave theory, including Kondratieff's theory of cycles in production and relative prices; Kuznets's theory of cycles arising from infrastructure investments; Schumpeter's theory of cycles due to waves of technological innovation; Goodwin's theory of cyclical growth based on employment and wage share dynamics; Keynes–Kaldor–Kalecki's demand and investment-oriented theories of cycles; and Minsky's financial instability hypothesis whereby capitalist economies show a genetic propensity to boom–bust cycles. This literature has been out of favor for many years but recent developments suggest a re-examination is warranted and timely.

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