Prix Gilles Dostaler 2021

Quentin Couix, Prix Gilles Dostaler 2021

Natural resources in the theory of production: the Georgescu-Roegen/Daly versus Solow/Stiglitz controversy

Le CIRED félicite Quentin Couix, lauréat du prix Gilles Dostaler 2021 de la Société européenne d’histoire de la pensée économique pour le meilleur article d’un jeune chercheur.



This paper provides a theoretical and methodological account of an important controversy between neoclassical resource economics and ecological economics from the early 1970s to the end of the 1990s. It shows that the assumption of unbounded resource productivity in the work of Solow and Stiglitz–and the related concepts of substitution and technical progress–rest on a model-based methodology. On the other hand, Georgescu-Roegen’s assumption of thermodynamic limits to production, later revived by Daly, comes from a methodology of interdisciplinary consistency. I conclude that neither side provided a definitive proof of its own claim because both face important conceptual issues.

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