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Title: A Comparative Analysis of Economic Growth Models: Neoclassical and Endogenous


Economic growth is an essential aspect of a nation’s development and prosperity. Over the years, economists have proposed various theories and models to understand and explain the factors and mechanisms driving economic growth. Among these, two prominent models are the neoclassical and endogenous growth models.

This paper aims to provide a comparative analysis of the neoclassical and endogenous growth models. The neoclassical growth model, developed by Robert Solow in the 1950s, emphasized the role of physical capital accumulation as the primary driver of economic growth. On the other hand, the endogenous growth model, propounded by Paul Romer in the 1980s, introduced the concept of technological progress as an endogenous variable that promotes long-run economic growth.

The analysis will first present an overview of the key assumptions and variables of both models. Subsequently, the paper will compare and contrast the models based on their foundational theories, main insights, and policy implications. Finally, the conclusion drawn from this comparative analysis will be discussed.

Neoclassical Growth Model:

The neoclassical growth model forms the foundation of modern growth theory. It assumes a production function that relates output to inputs such as capital and labor. The model assumes diminishing returns to capital, implying that as the stock of capital increases, the marginal product of capital diminishes. Furthermore, it postulates that the rate of investment determines the rate of capital accumulation, which, in turn, drives economic growth.

In the neoclassical model, the steady-state equilibrium is reached when investment matches the depreciation rate. At this equilibrium, the growth rate of output and capital per worker becomes constant. Considered a closed economy framework, the neoclassical model often assumes technological progress to be exogenous and labor force growth to be exogenously determined.

Endogenous Growth Model:

The endogenous growth model emerged as a response to the limitations of the neoclassical model, especially its failure to adequately explain long-term economic growth. Romer’s model incorporates technological progress as an endogenous variable, driven by factors such as research and development (R&D) activities, human capital accumulation, and knowledge spillovers.

Unlike the neoclassical model, the endogenous growth model does not assume diminishing returns to capital. Instead, it posits increasing returns to scale due to knowledge spillovers. This implies that the more knowledge an economy accumulates, the higher its growth rate can be. In this model, technological progress is not exogenous but influenced by various factors that can be actively shaped by policymakers.

Comparative Analysis:

Foundational Theories:

The neoclassical growth model is grounded in the principles of classical economics, emphasizing resource allocation, market equilibrium, and the importance of physical capital accumulation for economic growth. It is based on assumptions of diminishing returns to capital and exogenous technological progress. The model takes a market-centric approach, suggesting that the market mechanism drives growth and resource allocation efficiently.

In contrast, the endogenous growth model challenges the notion of diminishing returns to capital by emphasizing the role of increasing returns to scale due to knowledge spillovers. It proposes that technological progress can be actively influenced by investment in research and development, education, and infrastructure. This model views growth as an endogenous outcome rather than just a result of input accumulation.

Main Insights:

The neoclassical growth model highlights the importance of saving and investment for capital accumulation but doesn’t explicitly explain the sources of technological progress. It suggests that long-run growth is fueled by exogenous technological progress without providing a mechanism to explain its origin.

In contrast, the endogenous growth model emphasizes the role of technological progress and its endogenous determinants such as R&D, education, and knowledge spillovers. It recognizes that factors such as human capital accumulation, innovation, and institutions can actively shape an economy’s long-term growth potential.

Policy Implications:

The neoclassical growth model suggests that policies aimed at increasing savings, investment, and physical capital accumulation are crucial for fostering economic growth. Simultaneously, it implies that exogenous technological progress is beyond the scope of policy interventions.

On the other hand, the endogenous growth model proposes that policymakers can actively influence long-term growth by investing in education, R&D, infrastructure, and innovation-promoting institutions. It highlights the importance of policies aimed at creating a conducive environment for technological progress to flourish.


In conclusion, both the neoclassical and endogenous growth models have contributed significantly to our understanding of economic growth dynamics. While the neoclassical model emphasizes physical capital accumulation as the primary driver of growth, the endogenous growth model incorporates technological progress as an endogenous variable that can be actively influenced by policy interventions.

The comparative analysis shows that while the neoclassical model holds valuable insights regarding the importance of investment and market mechanisms, the endogenous growth model provides a more comprehensive understanding of long-term growth dynamics. Furthermore, the endogenous growth model opens avenues for policymakers to actively shape technological progress and, consequently, economic growth.