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Survival of the Most Foolish of Fools: The Limits of Evolutionary Selection Theory

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  • Elias Khalil

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Abstract

The paper investigates whether evolutionary selection, in nature or the market, ensures the survival of rational agents. It argues that once rationality appears, evolutionary selection can account for its diffusion—but cannot account for its appearance in the first place. This issue differs from the investigation of whether history matters. The issue of history or path-dependency focuses on whether evolutionary selection can favor the survival of the potentially most productive apparatus (in the biological or technological sense). To show this, the paper commences with the much-neglected difference between efficiency and productivity. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Bioeconomics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (October)
Pages: 203-220

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:2:y:2000:i:3:p:203-220

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=103315

Related research

Keywords: productivity; efficiency; hysteresis; path dependency; rationality; market selection; natural selection; optimization;

References

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  1. Schaffer, Mark E., 1989. "Are profit-maximisers the best survivors? : A Darwinian model of economic natural selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 29-45, August.
  2. Hodgson, Geoffrey M, 1994. "Optimisation and Evolution: Winter's Critique of Friedman Revisited," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 413-30, August.
  3. Khalil, Elias L, 1996. "Non-linear Dynamics versus Development Processes: Two Kinds of Change," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, University of Manchester, vol. 64(3), pages 309-22, September.
  4. Witt, Ulrich, 1986. "Firms' market behavior under imperfect information and economic natural selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 265-290, September.
  5. Elias L. Khalil, 1999. "The Janus Hypothesis," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 21(2), pages 315-342, January.
  6. Day, Richard H, 1982. "Irregular Growth Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 406-14, June.
  7. Robson, Arthur J., 1996. "The Evolution of Attitudes to Risk: Lottery Tickets and Relative Wealth," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 190-207, June.
  8. Elias L. Khalil, 2002. "Information, Knowledge and the Close of Friedrich Hayek's System: A Comment," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 319-341, Summer.
  9. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-25, June.
  10. Sidney G. Winter, 1964. "Economic "Natural Selection" and the Theory of the Firm," LEM Chapters Series, in: Yale Economic Essays, pages 225-272 Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  11. Neil Kay, 1995. "Alchian and 'the Alchian thesis'," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 281-286.
  12. Bester, H. & Güth, W., 1994. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable ?," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 1994-103, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  13. Giovanni Dosi & Christopher Freeman & Richard Nelson & Gerarld Silverberg & Luc Soete (ed.), 1988. "Technical Change and Economic Theory," LEM Book Series, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy, number dosietal-1988, June.
  14. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  15. Metcalfe, J S, 1994. "Competition, Fisher's Principle and Increasing Returns in the Selection Process," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 327-46, November.
  16. Conlisk, John, 1980. "Costly optimizers versus cheap imitators," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 275-293, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Metcalfe, John S. & Ramlogan, Ronnie & Uyarra, E., 2002. "Economic Development and the Competitive Process," Centre on Regulation and Competition (CRC) Working papers 30612, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
  2. Deby Cassill, 2003. "Skew Selection: Nature Favors a Trickle-Down Distribution of Resources in Ants," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 83-96, May.
  3. J. Metcalfe, 2002. "On the Optimality of the Competitive Process: Kimura's Theorem and Market Dynamics," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 109-133, May.
  4. Sammut-Bonnici, Tanya & Wensley, Robin, 2002. "Darwinism, probability and complexity: market- based organizational transformation and change explained through the theories of evolution," MPRA Paper 50979, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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