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On the predictability of economic structural change by the Poincaré–Bendixson theory

Denis Stijepic (Department of Macroeconomics, University of Hagen, Hagen, Germany)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 25 January 2019

Issue publication date: 12 April 2019



The three-sector framework (relating to agriculture, manufacturing and services) is one of the major concepts for studying the long-run change of the economic structure. This paper aims to discuss the system-theoretical classification of the structural change in the three-sector framework and, in particular, its predictability by the Poincaré–Bendixson theory.


This study compares the assumptions of the Poincaré–Bendixson theory to the typical axioms of structural change modeling, the empirical evidence on the geometrical properties of structural change trajectories and the methodological arguments referring to the laws of structural change.


The findings support the assumption that the structural change phenomenon is representable by a dynamical system that is predictable by the Poincaré–Bendixson theory. This result implies, among others, that in the long run, structural change is either transitory or cyclical and can be used in further geometrical/topological long-run structural change modeling and prediction.


Although widespread in mathematics, geometrical/topological modeling methods have not been used in modeling and prediction of long-run structural change, despite the fact that they seem to be predestined for this purpose owing to their global, system-theoretical nature, allowing for a reduction of ideology content of predictions and greater robustness of results.



No funding has been received for this research.


Stijepic, D. (2019), "On the predictability of economic structural change by the Poincaré–Bendixson theory", Foresight, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 250-265.



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