Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Innovation, Changes of Techno-Economic Paradigm and Biological Analogies in Economics


Author Info

  • Christopher Freeman
Registered author(s):


    [fre] Innovation, Changes of Techno-Economic Paradigm and Biological Analogies in Economies. . Quelle place faut-il donner aux analogies biologiques dans la théorie de l'économie évolutionniste ?. Tout en reconnaissant le rôle positif de telles analogies dans la mesure où elles stimulent le développement d'une approche historique des systèmes économiques et l'importance des processus sélectifs dans le développement de la science et de la technologie, l'article explique pourquoi pousser trop loin l'analogie biologique présente de très sérieux dangers. Non seulement le milieu social est beaucoup plus complexe que le milieu naturel, mais le rôle de l'intervention intentionnelle est tout à fait différent dans l'évolution de la technologie. Les économistes et théoriciens des sciences sociales n'ont par conséquent pas d'autres alternatives que d'abandonner les modèles des sciences de la nature, qu'ils savent mécaniques ou biologiques, pour construire leurs propres modèles adaptés aux systèmes qu'ils étudient. Une approche possible est la notion de paradigme techno-économique. [eng] Innovation, changes of techno-economic paradigm and biological analogies in economics. . This paper discusses the use of biological analogies in the theory of evolutionary economics. Whilst recognising the positive role of such analogies in stimulating an historical approach to economic Systems and whilst also recognising that selective processes do indeed play an important part in the development of science and technology, the paper nevertheless argues that there are serious dangers in pushing the biological analogy too far. Not only is the social environment much more complex than the natural environment but the role of purposive intervention is altogether different in the evolution of technology. Economists and other social scientists therefore have no other alternative but to leave the models of the natural sciences, whether mechanical or biological, and develop their own models appropriate to the Systems which they investigate. One such possible approach is the notion of the techno-economic paradigm.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Data and metadata provided by Persée are licensed under a Creative Commons "Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0" License

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Data and metadata provided by Persée are licensed under a Creative Commons "Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0" License

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue économique.

    Volume (Year): 42 (1991)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 211-232

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:prs:reveco:reco_0035-2764_1991_num_42_2_409276

    Note: DOI:10.2307/3502005
    Contact details of provider:
    Web page:

    Related research



    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Harabi, Najib, 1993. "Technologische Chancen Und Technischer Fortschritt: Eine Empirische Untersuchung
      [Technological Opportunities and Technical Progress: An empirical Analysis]
      ," MPRA Paper 5529, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Davide Consoli, 2003. "The evolution of retail banking services in United Kingdom: a retrospective analysis," Industrial Organization 0310002, EconWPA.
    3. Frenken, K. & Nuvolari, A., 2002. "Entropy Statistics as a Framework to Analyse Technological Evolution," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 02.15, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS).
    4. Zeting LIU, 2011. "Les politiques d’innovation françaises et la place des PME : une revue historique FRENCH INNOVATION POLICIES AND THE ROLE OF SMES: A HISTORICAL REVIEW," Working Papers 23, Réseau de Recherche sur l’Innovation. / Research Network on Innovation.
    5. Chad M. Baum, 2013. "Mass-Produced Food: the Rise and Fall of the Promise of Health and Safety," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-03, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    6. Saviotti, Pier Paolo & Pyka, Andreas, 2004. "Economic development, qualitative change and employment creation," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 265-287, September.
    7. Consoli, Davide, 2005. "The dynamics of technological change in UK retail banking services: An evolutionary perspective," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 461-480, May.
    8. Ester Gomes da Silva & Aurora A.C. Teixeira, 2006. "Surveying structural change: seminal contributions and a bibliometric account," FEP Working Papers 232, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    9. Nelly-Eleni Pavlidou & Persefoni V. Tsaliki & Ioannis N. Vardalachakis, 2011. "Technical change, unemployment and labor skills," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 595-606, July.
    10. Philip Faulkner & Clive Lawson & Jochen Runde, 2010. "Theorising technology," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 1-16, January.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:prs:reveco:reco_0035-2764_1991_num_42_2_409276. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Equipe PERSEE).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.