Are there quantitative Marxian/Marxist/neo-Marxist economic models like Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium models or Euro Area Wide (micro-founded) models - that can be used by central banks and researchers? Are there efforts to model relations between notions in Marxist economy? Maybe there is no need for separate economic models between Marxist (heterodox) and mainstream economics - maybe Marxists assume that mainstream economic models describe the reality quite accurately and that Marxism can add only decisions about resource redistribution and there is no need of models for such decisions.

I have found only one book and I have found some references about empirical work by Marxian economists - just compilation of statistics.

I wonder why I can not find more quantitative Marxism models and literature, because there should be such work:

  • Economists of communist countries (if we can say that - like China) and central banks of communist countries should have some models for making investment decisions, extensive models for planning and decision making (e.g. Greenspan remembered very impressive matrix calculations). Maybe these models are expression of Marxist economy.
  • Many countries after WWII experienced elements of state control, state planning and state intervention in economy (even US before till the Ford administration). So - these countries had to have some special models for planning and maybe they incorporated Marxian content?
  • I can not understand how it is possible to write about economics without using math and without having models. Marxian economists, seems to me, have this ability.

Any references, mentoring, pointers to the literature or important terms and notions are welcome!

Maybe one approach to finding my answer is using some workaround way - e.g. maybe I should seek the Chinese economic literature - it can have formalization of Marxism and at the same time current Chinese economic literature may be quite rational and quite acceptable for mainstream economics. Are there any resource of Chinese economic research in English?

  • $\begingroup$ Mainstream economic models seems to be working quite well (although imporvement are always required), so - maybe there can be mapping from mainstream to Marxian economic models, i.e. Grand Unified Theory of Economics. $\endgroup$
    – TomR
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 10:42

2 Answers 2


One (perhaps flippant) answer is that Marxists have a lot of ideas about how prices "should" work or how the value of labor "should" be rewarded, that aren't in line with what we observe, because central planning and/or mass subsidies that Marxist economies like end up being grossly inefficient. :P

Another (perhaps more interesting) answer is that there is quantitative Marxist models. Kinda. The main body of work that comes to mind for me is from Michał Kalecki and his version of the profit equation. He was a Marxist economist around the time of Keynes (and his work has Keynesian influences or influenced Keynes, depending on who you ask).

" For Kalecki, the saving propensity depends on the income distribution in a capitalist society, while investment expenditures are determined by past investment decisions. " 1

which has some interesting implications. From my very basic knowledge of Kalecki, he tends to sort agents in the model as capitalists (firm owners), workers (sell labor to capitalists), and other proprietors (trade work, artisans, services). His models have a narrative around profit-led vs wage-led growth and what it means for investment and tax policy.

The article cited probably has more knowledge about this guy than me.

Kalecki's Profit Equation after 80 Years (1)

  • There is a very interesting paper by John Roemer, published in Econometrica in 1980, that presents a mathematical general equilibrium Marxian model. I am not sure someone have ever estimated it though. Find it here (subscription required).

  • General equilibrium models (oftentimes idyosincratic) were also developed in the USSR. Check here for an account of them.

  • Models also informed (or attempted to inform) policy in USSR. The 1985 book "Macromodels of the National Economy of the USSR" gives an account of such models and policy applications.


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