Explaining Structural Change: Actions and Transformations

Cardinale, Ivano and Scazzieri, Roberto. 2019. Explaining Structural Change: Actions and Transformations. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 51, pp. 393-404. ISSN 0954-349X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Theories of structural change identify the range of transformations that are possible under given economic structures. However, in order specify a path of change out of those which are possible, these theories need to make explicit or implicit assumptions about actions taking place within structures. This, we argue, suggests that (i) these theories can identify potential, but not actual paths of change; and (ii) structural change is to some degree open-ended, because existing structures open up a range of possibilities but do not determine the specific actions taken therein. In order to explain which path of structural change is activated under specific historical conditions, we need to study how actual actions take place within structures. The paper suggests a way to do so, pointing to the interface between theory, which highlights possibilities for structural change, and history, which may 'close' such open-endedness in different ways depending on context.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



Structural change

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


9 December 2018Accepted
13 December 2018Published Online
December 2019Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Dec 2018 09:56

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 17:01

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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