Informations and abstract
This essay argues that the analytical representation of economic structure is a fundamental element in understanding the dynamics of economic systems, even more today in the case of modern economies affected by deep transformations of technological knowledge. The analysis of theories and models of structural economic dynamics brings out a clear distinction between the description of the production system in terms of material flows reflecting inter-industry relationships (W. Leontief) and the description of the same system in terms of a set of vertically integrated sectors (L. Pasinetti). The analysis of the circular and vertical theories of structural economic dynamics aims at the identification of the core set of fundamental methodological and analytical principles of what we have called "ideal" theory of structural economic dynamics. The essential features of a method of analysis consistent with this "ideal" model are the use of multisectoral models, the adoption of methods of decomposition, the relevance of technical progress, the central role of learning processes, the consideration of uneven growth and the study of normative conditions of equilibrium. The concluding proposition of the essay is that the analysis of structural economic dynamics needs theoretical pluralism. This entails the acceptance of differentiated analytical frameworks with respect to the problem at issue and suggests that theory selection presupposes both an adequate understanding of economic structure and the description of relevant features of institutions and individual patterns of behaviour.