Social Overhead Capital and Economic Growth

  • Paul H. Cootner
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


The purpose of this paper is to re-examine some of the theoretical and empirical implications of existing ideas about the rôle of social overhead capital in the process of economic growth. In the course of this inquiry these ideas are found wanting in several important respects, and as a result, I have formulated some new hypotheses which are more general in scope and better able to explain the limited data available.


Risk Premium Sustained Growth Traditional Theory External Economy Railway Construction 
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  1. 1.
    These are essentially the same points made by Paul Rosenstein-Rodan, ‘Notes on the Theory of the Big Push’, unpublished memorandum for the Center for International Studies, Cambridge, 1957.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    P. N. Rosenstein-Rodan, ‘Problems of Industrialization in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe’, Economic Journal, June–September 1943;Google Scholar
  3. R. Nurkse, Problems of Capital Formation in Underdeveloped Countries, Blackwell, Oxford, 1953;Google Scholar
  4. T. Scitovsky, ‘Two Concepts of External Economies’, Journal of Political Economy, April 1954, andGoogle Scholar
  5. 2.
    The pathbreaking article is Chenery’s, ‘Overcapacity and the Acceleration Principle’, Econometrica, 1952;Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    Prominent among these theories are those of W. Isard, ‘Transport Development and Building Cycles’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 1942.Google Scholar
  7. 2.
    A very striking case of interregional differences in Great Britain is discussed by H. Richards and P. Lewis, ‘Housebuilding in the South Wales Coalfield, 1851–1913’, The Manchester School, XXIV (1956), pp. 289–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 1.
    All general works on railroad history treat this subject and certain books and articles are largely devoted to it. See, e.g., C. Goodrich and H. Segal, ‘Baltimore’s Aid to Railroads’, Journal of Economic History (1953), pp. 2–35.Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    R. S. Eckaus, ‘The Development of Regional Economic Differentials in Italy: North and South at the Time of Unification’, Center for International Studies (1960) hectographed.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Economic Association 1963

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul H. Cootner
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUSA

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