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Darwinism in economics: from analogy to continuity

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  • Christian Cordes

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Abstract

Currently there is an ongoing discussion about how Darwinian concepts should be harnessed to further develop economic theory. Two approaches to this question, Universal Darwinism and the continuity hypothesis, are presented in this paper. It is shown whether abstract principles can be derived from Darwin’s explanatory model of biological evolution that can be applied to cultural evolution. Furthermore, the relation of the ontological basis of biological and cultural evolution is clarified. Some examples illustrate the respective potential of the two approaches to serve as a starting-point for theory development.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Evolutionary Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2006)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 529-541

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:16:y:2006:i:5:p:529-541

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Related research

Keywords: Economic selection theory; Economic theory development; Darwinism; Cultural evolution; Continuity hypothesis; B41; B52; A12; D00; O10;

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References

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  1. Metcalfe, J S, 2001. "Institutions and Progress," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 561-86, September.
  2. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. & Knudsen, Thorbjorn, 2006. "Why we need a generalized Darwinism, and why generalized Darwinism is not enough," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-19, September.
  3. Thorbj, rn Knudsen, 2002. "Economic selection theory," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 443-470.
  4. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2003. "The Mystery of the Routine. The Darwinian Destiny of An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(2), pages 355-384.
  5. Christian Cordes, 2005. "Long-term tendencies in technological creativity - a preference-based approach," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 149-168, January.
  6. Boyd, Robert & Richerson, Peter J., 1980. "Sociobiology, culture and economic theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 97-121, June.
  7. Christian Cordes, 2004. "The Human Adaptation for Culture and its Behavioral Implications," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 143-163, May.
  8. V. J. Vanberg, 2004. "Human Intentionality and Design In Cultural Evolution," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  9. 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.
  10. Ulrich Witt, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  11. Geoffrey Hodgson & Thorbjørn Knudsen, 2004. "The firm as an interactor: firms as vehicles for habits and routines," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 281-307, 07.
  12. Christian Cordes, 2004. "Veblen's "Instinct of Workmanship," its Cognitive Foundations, and Some Implications for Economic Theory," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-01, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  13. Ulrich Witt, 2004. "On Novelty and Heterogeneity," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  14. Witt, Ulrich, 2000. "Changing Cognitive Frames--Changing Organizational Forms: An Entrepreneurial Theory of Organizational Development," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 733-55, December.
  15. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2002. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to ontology," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 259-281.
  16. Jack Vromen, 2004. "Conjectural revisionary economic ontology: Outline of an ambitious research agenda for evolutionary economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 213-247.
  17. Armen A. Alchian, 1950. "Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 211.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ulrich Witt, 2008. "What is specific about evolutionary economics?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 547-575, October.
  2. Howard Aldrich & Geoffrey Hodgson & David Hull & Thorbjørn Knudsen & Joel Mokyr & Viktor Vanberg, 2008. "In defence of generalized Darwinism," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 577-596, October.
  3. Ríos-Núñez, Sandra M. & Coq-Huelva, Daniel & García-Trujillo, Roberto, 2013. "The Spanish livestock model: A coevolutionary analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 342-350.
  4. Fritz Rahmeyer, 2010. "A Neo-Darwinian Foundation of Evolutionary Economics. With an Application to the Theory of the Firm," Discussion Paper Series 309, Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics.
  5. Jack Vromen, 2007. "Generalized Darwinism in Evolutionary Economics: The Devil is in the Details," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2007-11, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  6. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & Giorgos Kallis, 2009. "Evolutionary Policy," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  7. Reinoud Joosten, 2009. "Paul Samuelson's critique and equilibrium concepts in evolutionary game theory," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-16, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  8. Christian Schubert, 2013. "The pitfalls of Darwinian “progress”. A comment on “Evolvability and progress in evolutionary economics” by Tim Cochrane and James Maclaurin," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 325-328, October.
  9. Georg Schwesinger, 2013. "Natural and Economic Selection - Lessons from the Evo-Devo and Multilevel Selection Debate," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-014, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  10. Christian Schubert, 2014. "“Generalized Darwinism” and the quest for an evolutionary theory of policy-making," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 479-513, July.
  11. Andersson, Claes, 2011. "Splitting the replicator: Generalized Darwinism and the place of culture in nature," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 657-669.
  12. Guido Buenstorf, 2007. "Creation and Pursuit of Entrepreneurial Opportunities: An Evolutionary Economics Perspective," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 323-337, April.
  13. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2014. "Towards a Developmental Turn in Evolutionary Economic Geography?," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1401, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Jan 2014.
  14. Georgy S. Levit & Uwe Hossfeld & Ulrich Witt, 2010. "Can Darwinism Be "Generalized" and of What Use Would This Be?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2010-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  15. Gual, Miguel A. & Norgaard, Richard B., 2010. "Bridging ecological and social systems coevolution: A review and proposal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 707-717, February.
  16. Kurt Dopfer, 2013. "Economics with a Phylogenetic Signature," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-06, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  17. G. Buenstorf, 2005. "How Useful Is Universal Darwinism as a Framework to Study Competition and Industrial Evolution?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2005-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  18. Pavel Pelikan, 2011. "Evolutionary developmental economics: how to generalize Darwinism fruitfully to help comprehend economic change," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 341-366, May.
  19. Guido Buenstorf, 2006. "Perception and pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities: an evolutionary economics perspective," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-01, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  20. Karin Knottenbauer, 2009. "Recent Developments in Evolutionary Biology and Their Relevance for Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-11, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  21. Christian Schubert, 2009. "Darwinism in Economics and the Evolutionary Theory of Policy-Making," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-10, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  22. Jack Vromen, 2008. "Ontological issues in evolutionary economics: The debate between Generalized Darwinism and the Continuity Hypothesis," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2008-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.

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