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On the proper interpretation of 'evolution' in economics and its implications for production theory

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  • Ulrich Witt

Abstract

How relevant is the notion of evolution for economics? In view of the paradigmatic influence of Darwinian thought, several recently advocated interpretations are discussed first which rely on Darwinian concepts. As an alternative, a notion of evolution is suggested that is based on a few, abstract, common principles which all domain-specific evolutionary processes share, including those in the economy. A different, ontological question is whether and, if so, how the various domain-specific evolutionary processes are connected. As an answer, an evolutionary continuity hypothesis is postulated and its concrete economic implications are discussed exemplarily for the theory of production.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 11 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 125-146

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:11:y:2004:i:2:p:125-146

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Related research

Keywords: evolutionary economics; novelty; selection metaphor; sociobiology; Universal Darwinism; production theory;

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Cited by:
  1. Nooteboom, B., 2006. "Organization, Evolution, Cognition and Dynamic Capabilities," Discussion Paper 2006-41, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Geoffrey Hodgson & Thorbjørn Knudsen, 2008. "In search of general evolutionary principles: Why Darwinism is too important to be left to the biologists," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 51-69, April.
  3. Karin Knottenbauer, 2009. "Recent Developments in Evolutionary Biology and Their Relevance for Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-11, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  4. Foster, John & Metcalfe, J. Stan, 2012. "Economic emergence: An evolutionary economic perspective," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 420-432.
  5. Bart Nooteboom, 2008. "In what sense do firms evolve?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2008-12, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  6. Christoph Heinzel, 2012. "Schumpeter and Georgescu-Roegen on the Foundations of an Evolutionary Analysis," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 12-08, INRA UMR SMART.
  7. V. J. Vanberg, 2004. "Human Intentionality and Design In Cultural Evolution," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-02, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  8. Kevin Maréchal & Hélène Aubaret-Joachain & Jean-Paul Ledant, 2008. "The influence of Economics on agricultural systems: an evolutionary and ecological perspective," Working Papers CEB 08-028.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  12. Geoffrey Hodgson & Thorbjørn Knudsen, 2006. "The nature and units of social selection," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 16(5), pages 477-489, December.
  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. Thomas Brenner & Christian Cordes, 2004. "The autocatalytic character of the growth of production knowledge: What role does human labor play?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-12, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  15. Sylvie Geisendorf, 2011. "Internal selection and market selection in economic Genetic Algorithms," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(5), pages 817-841, December.
  16. Christian Schubert, 2009. "Darwinism in Economics and the Evolutionary Theory of Policy-Making," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-10, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  17. Jack Vromen, 2008. "Ontological issues in evolutionary economics: The debate between Generalized Darwinism and the Continuity Hypothesis," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2008-05, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  18. Sylvie Geisendorf, 2009. "The economic concept of evolution: self-organization or Universal Darwinism?," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 377-391.
  19. Christian Cordes, 2008. "A potential limit on competition," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 127-144, August.

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