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Investigación económica

versión impresa ISSN 0185-1667

Inv. Econ vol.64 no.253 México jul./sep. 2005

 

Articles

La función de producción agregada en retrospectiva

The Agregate Production Function in Retrospective

Jesús Felipe* 

J.S.L. Mccombie** 

* Pertenece al Economics and Research Department, Asian Development Bank Manila, Filipinas <jfelipe@adb.org>.

** Profesor del Downing College, Cambridge, Reino Unido <jslm2@hermes.cam.ac.uk>.

Resumen

Este artículo ofrece un resumen actualizado de los argumentos teóricos que hace más de cuatro décadas cuestionaron el concepto de función de producción agregada. Tanto los debates de Cambridge-Cambridge como la literatura sobre agregación concluyeron que el concepto de función de producción agregada no fundamentos teóricos sólidos. Los defensores del concepto de función de producción aceptaron estos argumentos, pero señalaron que el tema era simplemente una cuestión empírica, en el sentido de que en tanto las estimaciones de funciones de producción dieran buenos resultados (por ejemplo, que las elasticidades estimadas del capital y el trabajo se aproximarán a las proporciones de los factores en el producto), seguían siendo útiles y no había por que dejar de utilizarlas. Este argumento, sin embargo, se encuentra con un problema insalvable: se demostró que el motivo por el cual las funciones de producción agregadas parecen dar buenos resultados cuando son estimadas econométricamente es que lo que hacen es simplemente reproducir la identidad contable según la cual el producto total es la suma de los salarios más los beneficios. Una serie de ejemplos muestran por qué y cómo ocurre esto. El artículo concluye que la función de producción agregada es una herramienta que debe ser abandonada en los análisis teóricos y empíricos del crecimiento. Modelos con otros fundamentos deben ser considerados.

Abstract

This article offers an updated review of the theoretical arguments that over four decades ago questioned the notion of aggregate production function. One is the socalled Cambridge-Cambridge debates. The Other one is the literature on aggregation. Using different arguments, both reached the conclusion that the notion of an aggregate production function did not have solid theoretical foundations. Defenders of the concept of aggregate production function accepted the theoretical arguments. However, they argued that was essentially an empirical question, in the sense that as long as the production function yielded sensible results (e.g., that the elasticities estimated were close to the factor shares), then it was a useful tool and there was no reason to give it up. This argument, however, faces an unsurmountable difficulty. This is that it was also shown long ago that the reason why aggregate production functions.

JEL Classification: E1, E10, C22

Texto completo disponible sólo en PDF

Full text available only in PDF format

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Recibido: Mayo de 2004; Aprobado: Diciembre de 2004

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