Architectures of production and industrial dynamics: A task-function theory of structural change

Cardinale, Ivano and Scazzieri, Roberto. 2023. Architectures of production and industrial dynamics: A task-function theory of structural change. L'industria. Review of Industrial Economics and Policy, 2023(4), pp. 559-582. ISSN 0019-7416 [Article]

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The paper outlines a theory in which ‘productive tasks’ and ‘productive functions’ are the fundamental and irreducible components of production. By showing that each task can potentially perform a multiplicity of functions, and a given function can be performed by a variety of tasks, the paper argues that production is characterized by a space of relative indeterminacy that makes it possible to introduce new productive arrangements (i.e., new goods and new ways to produce existing goods). On this basis, the paper highlights the variety of routes for transforming existing production structures that are inherent, as virtual possibilities, to those very structures. Such variety, however, is bounded, because the social structures in which production takes place might make certain production arrangements feasible and others unfeasible. The paper goes on to explore the wide-ranging implications of this theory for industrial dynamics and structural change.

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JEL Classifications: D20, O31


Production theory, productive tasks, productive functions, industrial dynamics, structural change

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Institute of Management Studies
Institute of Management Studies > Structural Economic Analysis


7 January 2024Accepted
4 February 2024Published Online

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Date Deposited:

11 Jan 2024 09:20

Last Modified:

30 May 2024 14:55

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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