Conjunctural Change

We explain what a conjunctural change is, its characteristics and examples. In addition, we tell you how it differs from a structural change.

The increase in oil prices is a temporary change.The increase in oil prices is a temporary change.
The situation covers the temporary or momentary elements that determine a context.

What is a conjunctural change?

A cyclical change or change in the situation It is a transformation in external conditions, that is, in the factors and circumstances that accompany an issue. It is distinguished from structural changes, which have to do with changes in the fixed components of an issue.

The term “conjuncture” comes from the Latin verb coniungerewhich translates as “to unite” or “to bind,” and which was originally used to refer to the marital union (hence the word spouse, For example). Later it was also used to refer to the joints of the body, and ultimately to name the combination of temporary or momentary elements that determine a context, that is, that when put together they allow something to take place.

In this way, the cyclical changes are those linked to ephemeral, momentary or changing factors. The state of the weather can be considered a temporary factor, since it changes continuously and can affect the execution of a project or event, for example, a soccer match. If it is a sunny day and suddenly it starts to rain, it can be said that a conjunctural change occurred, that is, dependent on contextual aspects, outside the control of the players.

In the historical context, on the other hand, current issues are those related to the intermediate historical time.. That is, with a perspective of history that is in the middle between long-term processes (centuries) and specific events (days or weeks). In this way, revolutions and great crises would be good examples of conjunctural historical changes, that is, changes in the historical conjuncture of the moment.

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For its part, In sociology and economics, conjunctural change is identified with the small-scale alteration of certain aspects of society., while preserving its bases or essential aspects. For example, a redistribution of the tax system that does not essentially change how it works but rather who is taxed and how, can be considered a temporary change compared to the proposal, for example, to eliminate all taxes.

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Characteristics of a conjunctural change

The cyclical changes are characterized by the following:

  • They depend on the context and changing factorsmomentary or unreliable and unpredictable.
  • This is usually a short-term change.that is, a momentary rearrangement of external factors.
  • They do not affect the constituent elements or essential aspects of the matter, that is, to the internal factors. That is, the structural persists.
  • When it comes to solving problems, cyclical changes They are usually easier to take than structural onesbut at the same time more superficial and less effective.

Conjunctural change and structural change

The difference between a change conjunctural (or situation) and a change structural (or structure) has to do with the aspects of the system that are altered or transformed.

If these aspects are contextual, that is, momentary or determined by relationships with the external, it is a conjunctural change. On the other hand, If it is a deep and essential change, which affects the essential and permanent elements of the system, it is a structural change.

These differences can be expressed as follows:

Conjunctural or conjuncture change Structural or structure change
They affect contextual elements, that is, superficial or external elements of the system. They affect essential, that is, deep and permanent elements of the system.
They tend to be momentary changes and on a smaller scale. They tend to be permanent, large-scale changes.
They tend to be quick, short-term changes. They tend to be slow, long-term changes.
Crucial aspects of the system are preserved. Crucial aspects of the system are altered.
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Examples of conjunctural change

Some examples of conjunctural change are the following:

  • The increase or decrease in oil prices at a certain time of the year.
  • The change in weather in a given location.
  • The tax and social assistance policies implemented during an election year by the government.
  • The rise or fall in the price of a company’s shares or the value of an international currency.
  • The continuous rotation of positions of employees in an area in a company.

Examples of structural change

Some examples of structural change are the following:

  • The transformation of the productive matrix of an oil country to dedicate itself to other areas.
  • The change in atmospheric climate in a given region throughout history: the permanent decrease in rainfall and the increase in average annual temperature.
  • The transformation of a country’s tax policy so that taxes are reduced to a minimum and the State becomes smaller.
  • The bankruptcy and liquidation of the shares of a company that closes.
  • The reduction of a company’s staff through the dismissal of part of its payroll and, therefore, the increase in the workload of the remaining staff.

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  • “Conjunctural” in the Language Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy.
  • “Structural” in the Language Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy.
  • “Etymology of Situation” in the Online Spanish Etymological Dictionary.
  • “Structural or conjunctural?” by Marc Eichmann in La República (Colombia).
  • “The conjunctural, the structural and stupid politics” by Carlos Sánchez in El Confidencial (Spain).