Combining concrete policy-oriented modeling strategies of World War II with what was received as traditional neoclassical theory, in 1956 Robert Solow constructed a simple, clean, and smooth-functioning “design” model that served many different purposes. As a working object, it enabled experimentation with utopian long-run equilibrium growth. As an instrument of measurement, it was applied to time-series data. As a prototype, it was supposed to feed into larger-scale econometric models that were, in turn, thought of as technologies for policy advice. Used as a teaching device, Solow’s design became a medium of “spreading the technique” and one of the symbols for neoclassical macroeconomics that soon became associated with MIT.

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