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Long waves, depression and innovation

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Schumpeter's (1939) proposition concerning long economic cycles which are given impetus by waves of radical innovations has been strongly criticized by Kuznets (1940). It is argued that in view of more recent research. Schumpeter's proposition appears to be highly realistic: First, there is evidence in recent history of a long wave pattern in indicators of general economic activity of various countries; secondly, innovation data on various definitions independently confirm that radical innovations are not distributed randomly over time but tend to cluster in the late depression and early upswing period of the long waves; thirdly, arguments are brought forward to explain the waves of innovations as an endogenous element of the long wave process.

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My research was supported by grants from the Dutch Ministry of Science Policy and by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

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Kleinknecht, A. Long waves, depression and innovation. De Economist 134, 84–108 (1986).

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