Assuming that the normal rate of capacity utilization is exogenously fixed, it is then shown that variation in the actual capacity utilization rate can nevertheless occur – at least within limits – without triggering “Harrodian instability”. This result emanates from a discontinuity in the investment function that is grounded in Harrod’s own macrodynamics, so that it is ultimately the combination of Harrodian and Kaleckian dynamics that gives rise to long-run variations in the actual rate of capacity utilization in the presence of a fixed normal rate. Aggregate and industry-level US capacity utilization data are then used to calculate possible bands within which the rate of capacity utilization may vary without triggering Harrodian instability. A key finding is that the conditions necessary for the latter appear to be relatively rare.
Author: Mark Setterfield