An Essay in Dynamic Theory. 1938 Draft

by Roy F. Harrod, edited and introduced by Daniele Besomi

History of Political Economy, 28:2, 1996, pp. 253-280.


This is the transcript of the very first draft of Harrod's famous "Essay in Dynamic Theory", published in the Economic Journal in March 1939. Before publication, this draft underwent radical changes under the pressure of Keynes's criticisms (and Jakob Marschak's, to a minor extent). In the first and final sections, Harrod only added a number of specifications -some of which, however, had consequences which went far beyond Harrod's intention. But the central part of the "Essay" was rewritten entirely: Harrod's theory of the trade cycle, originally discussed in detail, was eventually compressed into two short section, which do not adequately represent the richness of the original analysis.

The editorial introduction provides a chronology of the events. The editorial apparatus, although not aiming at elaborating a full collation of the two versions, lists the major changes and points out which were inspired by Keynes's or Marschak's comments. A table of comparison between the two versions enables to perceive at a glance where the draft underwent the more radical changes and how the materials were re-organised.