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The Theory of Evolution and the Evolution of Theory: Veblen's Methodology in Contemporary Perspective

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  • Argyrous, George
  • Sethi, Rajiv

Abstract

This paper traces recent developments in economic theory from the perspective of Thorstein Veblen's methodological distinction between teleological and evolution modes of scientific thought. It is argued that the imposition of rational behavior at the individual level prevents neoclassical theory from exhibiting genuine evolutionary processes since decision rules are prevented from emerging out of a process of adaptation to a changing environment. The standard rationality postulate can nevertheless give rise to quasi-evolutionary sequences at the aggregate level. This possibility is blocked in macroeconomic literature by the use of the representative agent construct and the imposition of the hypothesis of self-fulfilling expectations. (c) 1996 Academic Press Limited Copyright 1996 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 20 (1996)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 475-95

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:20:y:1996:i:4:p:475-95

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Cited by:
  1. Nicolai J. Foss, 1996. "Thorstein B. Veblen Precursor of the Competence-Based Approach to the Firm," DRUID Working Papers 96-15, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  2. Villena, Mauricio G. & Villena, Marcelo J., 2004. "Evolutionary Game Theory and Thorstein Veblen’s Evolutionary Economics: Is EGT Veblenian?," MPRA Paper 28889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Viano Francesca Lidia, 2002. "Guesswork and knowledge in evolutionary economics: verblen revisited," CESMEP Working Papers 200205, University of Turin.

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