Multilevel Population Thinking The History and the Use of the Concept in Economics
AbstractThe concept of multilevel population thinking suggests looking at evolution of any system of entities as at a multilevel process with selection forces operating on populations of units as well as on populations of groups of these units. The concept has allowed explaining some phenomena in biological evolution, but it has not deserved much attention from the majority of adopters of evolutionary theory in economics. There are many reasons for that, and some of them are definitely related to the weakness of the theoretical base developed for studying the statistical properties of complex evolving systems. Moreover, the formal tools already developed to support the concept, being not enough general to describe coexistence of evolutionary processes along the diverse complex structures, unfortunately tend to narrow the generality of the approach. This essay aims to review the history of the development of the idea of multilevel population thinking, to look at the applications of the approach in economics, and to give a critical view on the formal tool, namely, the Price’s equation, that has become common to economists, who analyze complex evolutionary structures.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 04-08.
Date of creation: 2004
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Biological analogy in economics; multilevel selection; Price’s equation.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian
- O30 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
- O40 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-10-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2004-10-18 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2004-10-18 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HIS-2004-10-18 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2004-10-18 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
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