### A Characterization of Varieties of Associative Algebras of Exponent two

∗The first author was partially supported by MURST of Italy; the second author was par- tially supported by RFFI grant 99-01-00233.It was recently proved that any variety of associative algebras over a field of characteristic zero has an integral exponential growth. It is known that a variety V has polynomial growth if and only if V does not contain the Grassmann algebra and the algebra of 2 × 2 upper triangular matrices. It follows that any variety with overpolynomial growth has exponent at least...