Theo Santini, Ricardo Azevedo Araujo

Vertical integration, technical progress and structural change

  • Economics and Econometrics

Abstract In search of an alternative representation of the economic system, Pasinetti ended up with a notion of vertical integration (VI) that takes interdependencies as its starting point but does not explicitly consider their role in the unfolding structural economic dynamics (SED). In this paper, we show that SED may be more inclusive of such interrelations to appropriately consider VI as a tool for analysing economic systems under the conditions of technical change and structural transformation. Our strategy is to focus on Pasinetti’s shift from his original development building on Sraffa’s sub-systems to his formulation of VI in terms of a pure labour technology in which all goods are produced by labour only. To carry out the analysis, we resume his iterative algorithm of VI, showing that we can extend it to the case of an expanding economy as a bridge between the horizontal and vertical production representations. Following this route, we can effectively address the features of structural transformation associated with changing patterns of interdependence. Besides, we can go from an assessment of productivity growth at an industrial level to determining the pace of technical change in a vertically integrated sector (VIS), which allows focussing on a concept of productivity derived from the VI, labelled as the total labour productivity (TLP). The TLP is robust to outsourcing of production, whose effects are adequately dealt with insofar as it considers not only the direct but also the indirect labour required to produce the final output.

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