© 1998

Positive Feedback Economies


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Elettra Agliardi
    Pages 1-3
  3. Elettra Agliardi
    Pages 21-54
  4. Elettra Agliardi
    Pages 67-89
  5. Elettra Agliardi
    Pages 91-111
  6. Elettra Agliardi
    Pages 139-140
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 141-154

About this book


The objective of this book is to study the economy as a complex system and to show that the presence of self-reinforcing mechanisms in very different economic problems gives rise to common regularities and common qualitative properties. Dynamic systems of the self-reinforcing type are considered, that is, systems with local positive feedbacks. Economic theory maintains that positive feedbacks can cause multiple equilibria and possible inefficiency. This book concentrates on the less familiar properties of lock-in, path-dependence and symmetry-breaking.


agents economic dynamics economic system economic theory efficiency

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of BolognaItaly
  2. 2.Churchill CollegeCambridgeUK

About the authors


Bibliographic information


'This book offers a thorough treatment of the long run economic implications of increasing-returns in production. It is written expertly, lucidly, and with verve. The economics profession will be grateful to Dr Agliardi for providing us with the first economic account of the analytics for path-dependence and of how and why history matters. The book is a wonderful achievement.' - Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics, University of Cambridge

'Economists have only recently embarked on theoretical studies of the process by which new techniques are adopted by firms. There are already a number of results: for instance, which of two alternatives will be universally adopted may be the outcome of a random process, firms may delay adoption in order to benefit from the experience of those who do adopt, outcomes are 'history dependent' etc. Dr Agliardi not only completely commands the literature but in this book makes a number of notable contributions of her own.' - Frank Hahn, Professor of Economics, Siena and Professor Emeritus of Economics, Cambridge