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How Evolutionary Is Schumpeter'S Theory Of Economic Development?

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  • Ulrich Witt

Abstract

The generic features of an evolutionary theory which are identified in the conceptional discussion of the present paper can be shown to be present already in Schumpeter's 1912 work, The Theory of Economic Development . None the less, it is argued that Schumpeter fell short of a level of generality by which he would have succeeded in providing a true foundation for evolutionary economics. The reason is his eagerness--very clearly visible in the "lost" seventh chapter--to align his theory with the economic reasoning of contemporary "pure" economic theory that was moulded in an equilibrium-oriented heuristic and the methodology of comparative statics. Schumpeter's conception--which, in opposing the idea of borrowing from Darwinian thought, he called "development"--is rather a special theory of the unsteady capitalist growth process passing through booms and crises. Throughout all of Schumpeter's writings the notion of development is therefore closely related to the business cycle phenomenon. The paper argues that this special framing implies not only some arbitrary hypotheses which are difficult to accept in an evolutionary interpretation, but also some limitations in his understanding of (what he refused to call) economic evolution, particularly with respect to its driving forces.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Industry and Innovation.

Volume (Year): 9 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1-2 ()
Pages: 7-22

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Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:9:y:2002:i:1-2:p:7-22

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Cited by:
  1. Jonathan Levie & Erkko Autio, 2008. "A theoretical grounding and test of the GEM model," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 235-263, October.
  2. Alexander Frenzel Baudisch, 2006. "Functional Demand Satiation and Industrial Dynamcis - The Emergence of the Global Value Chain for the U.S. Footwear Industry," DRUID Working Papers 06-03, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  3. Heshmati, Almas & Lenz-Cesar, Flávio, 2013. "Determinants and Policy Simulation of Firms Cooperation in Innovation," IZA Discussion Papers 7487, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Christian Schubert, 2009. "Welfare Creation and Destruction in a Schumpeterian World," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-14, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  5. Andreas Chai, 2012. "Consumer Specialization and the Demand for Novelty: a Reconsideration of the Links and Implications for Studying Fashion Cycles in Tourism," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 232(6), pages 678-701, November.
  6. Geoffrey Hodgson, 2007. "Taxonomizing the Relationship Between Biology and Economics: A Very Long Engagement," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 169-185, August.
  7. Guido Buenstorf, 2006. "Perception and pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities: an evolutionary economics perspective," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-01, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  8. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Banji & Barclay, Lou Anne, 2003. "Systems of Innovation and Human Capital in African Development," UNU-INTECH Discussion Paper Series 2, United Nations University - INTECH.
  9. Guido Buenstorf, 2007. "Creation and Pursuit of Entrepreneurial Opportunities: An Evolutionary Economics Perspective," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 323-337, April.

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