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La théorie évolutionniste du changement économique de Nelson et Winter. Une analyse économique réprospective


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  • Richard Arena
  • Nathalie Lazaric


The aim of this article is to underline the development of the Evolutionary Theory starting from the original book of Nelson and Winter [1982]. This book is inspired by the Shumpeterian and Simonian traditions even if these authors are abandoning some of their core hypothesises. Nelson and Winter provide a criticism of orthodox foundations notably via the conceptualisation of productive activity with the production set. They suggest a new research agenda inspired from biology called « organizational genetics ». This latter has launched a huge of sympathy and critics because the philogenetic and ontogenetic levels of selection of routines and technologies are both confused and contradictory, notably concerning the emergence and the creation of knowledge. The role of routines is also discussed here at a conceptual and qualitative level in order to reach a better understanding of key concepts such as skills, capabilities. Finally, this research agenda offers an important originality even if some problems remain with the endogenous process of selection and mutation.Classification JEL : D20, D21, D23, D24, D57, E23, L23, N00, O30, O14.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Presses de Sciences-Po in its journal Revue économique.

Volume (Year): 54 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 329-354

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Handle: RePEc:cai:recosp:reco_542_0329

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  1. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00340832 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Cayla, David, 2008. "Learning, Rationality and Identity Building - From Simon To Varela," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5005, Paris Dauphine University.
  3. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00340832 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Marie-Claude BELIS-BERGOUIGNAN (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2009. "An evolutionist analysis of sectoral dynamics (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2009-18, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  5. Fabrice Flipo & François Deltour & Cédric Gossart & Michelle Dobré & Marion Michot & Laurent Berthet, 2009. "Technologies numériques et crise environnementale : peut-on croire aux TIC vertes ?," Working Papers hal-00957836, HAL.


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