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HarrodDomar model

The HarrodDomar model is an early post-Keynesian

model of economic growth. It is used in development
economics to explain an economys growth rate in terms
of the level of saving and productivity of capital. It suggests that there is no natural reason for an economy to
have balanced growth. The model was developed independently by Roy F. Harrod in 1939,[1] and Evsey Domar
in 1946,[2] although a similar model had been proposed
by Gustav Cassel in 1924.[3] The HarrodDomar model
was the precursor to the exogenous growth model.[4]


Y (t + 1) Y (t)
K(t) + sY (t) K(t) K(t)


Y (t + 1) Y (t)
sY (t) dK
dY Y (t)

Y (t)) = Y (t + 1) Y (t)
cY (t) s
= Y (t + 1) Y (t)

c(sY (t)

Neoclassical economists claimed shortcomings in the

HarrodDomar modelin particular the instability of its
solution[5] , and, by the late 1950s, started an academic
dialogue that led to the development of the SolowSwan

cs c

According to the HarrodDomar model there are three

kinds of growth viz. warranted growth, actual growth and
natural rate of growth.

Y (t + 1) Y (t)
Y (t)

dY dK
Y (t + 1) Y (t)

dK dY
Y (t)

Warranted Growth rate is the rate of growth at which the sc = Y

economy does not expand indenitely or go into recession.
An alternative (and, perhaps, simpler) derivation is as follows, with dots (for example, Y ) denoting percentage
growth rates.
First, assumptions (1)(3) imply that output and capital
are linearly related (for readers with an economics background, this proportionality implies a capital-elasticity of
output equal to unity). These assumptions thus generate
equal growth rates between the two variables. That is,

Y = cK d log(Y ) = d log(c) + d log(K).

Since the marginal product of capital, c, is a constant, we

d log(Y ) = d log(K)

Mathematical formalism


Y = K.

Next, with assumptions (4) and (5), we can nd capitals

growth rate as,

Let Y represent output, which equals income, and let K K =
equal the capital stock. S is total saving, s is the savings
rate, and I is investment. stands for the rate of depre- Y = sc
ciation of the capital stock. The HarrodDomar model In summation, the savings rate times the marginal prodmakes the following a priori assumptions:
uct of capital minus the depreciation rate equals the output growth rate. Increasing the savings rate, increasing
Derivation of output growth rate:


the marginal product of capital, or decreasing the depreciation rate will increase the growth rate of output; these
are the means to achieve growth in the HarrodDomar

4 See also
Economic growth
FeldmanMahalanobis model


Although the HarrodDomar model was initially created

to help analyse the business cycle, it was later adapted
to explain economic growth. Its implications were that
growth depends on the quantity of labour and capital;
more investment leads to capital accumulation, which
generates economic growth. The model carries implications for less economically developed countries, where
labour is in plentiful supply in these countries but physical
capital is not, slowing down economic progress. LDCs
do not have suciently high incomes to enable sucient rates of saving; therefore, accumulation of physicalcapital stock through investment is low.

SolowSwan model

5 References
[1] Harrod, Roy F. (1939). An Essay in Dynamic Theory. The Economic Journal 49 (193): 1433. JSTOR
[2] Domar, Evsey (1946). Capital Expansion, Rate of
Growth, and Employment. Econometrica 14 (2): 137
147. JSTOR 1905364.
[3] Cassel, Gustav (1967) [1924]. Capital and Income in the
Money Economy. The Theory of Social Economy. New
York: Augustus M. Kelley. pp. 5163.

The model implies that economic growth depends on

policies to increase investment, by increasing saving, and
using that investment more eciently through technological advances.

[4] Hagemann, Harald (2009). Solows 1956 Contribution in the Context of the Harrod-Domar Model.
History of Political Economy 41 (Suppl 1): 6787.

The model concludes that an economy does not naturally nd full employment and stable growth rates.

[5] Scarfe, Brian L. (1977). The Harrod Model and the

Knife Edge Problem. Cycles, Growth, and Ination:
A Survey of Contemporary Macrodynamics. New York:
McGraw-Hill. pp. 6366. ISBN 0-07-055039-5.

Criticisms of the model

The main criticism of the model is the level of assumption, one being that there is no reason for growth to be
sucient to maintain full employment; this is based on
the belief that the relative price of labour and capital is
xed, and that they are used in equal proportions. The
model explains economic boom and bust by the assumption that investors are only inuenced by output (known
as the accelerator principle); this is now widely believed
to be false.
In terms of development, critics claim that the model sees
economic growth and development as the same; in reality,
economic growth is only a subset of development. Another criticism is that the model implies poor countries
should borrow to nance investment in capital to trigger
economic growth; however, history has shown that this
often causes repayment problems later.
The endogeneity of savings: Perhaps the most important
parameter in the HarrodDomar model is the rate of savings. Can it be treated as a parameter that can be manipulated easily by policy? That depends on how much
control the policy maker has over the economy. In fact,
there are several reasons to believe that the rate of savings
may itself be inuenced by the overall level of per capita
income in the society, not to mention the distribution of
that income among the population.

[6] Sato, Ryuzo (1964). The Harrod-Domar Model vs the

Neo-Classical Growth Model. The Economic Journal 74
(294): 380387. JSTOR 2228485.
[7] Solow, Robert M. (1994). Perspectives on Growth Theory. Journal of Economic Perspectives 8 (1): 4554.
doi:10.1257/jep.8.1.45. JSTOR 2138150.

6 Further reading
Ackley, Gardner (1961). Economic Growth: The
Problem of Capital Accumulation. Macroeconomic
Theory. New York: Macmillan. pp. 505535.
Brems, Hans (1967). The One-Country Harrod
Domar Model of Growth. Quantitative Economic
Theory: A Synthetic Approach. New York: Wiley.
pp. 426435.
Cochrane, James L.; Gubins, Samuel; Kiker, B. F.
(1974). Economic Growth (I)". Macroeconomics:
Analysis and Policy. Glenview: Scott, Foresman and
Co. pp. 328353. ISBN 0-673-07639-3.
Hardwick, Philip; Khan, Bahadur; Langmead, John
(1982). An Introduction to Modern Economics. London: Longman. pp. 388391. ISBN 0-582-440513.

Keiser, Norman F. (1975). An Introduction to
Growth Theory. Macroeconomics (Second ed.).
New York: Random House. pp. 386399. ISBN
Lindauer, John (1976). Macroeconomics (Third
ed.). New York: Wiley. pp. 325332. ISBN 0471-53572-9.


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