Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Microfoundations of Macroeconomics: An Evolutionary Perspective

Contents:

Author Info

  • Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh

    ()
    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • John M. Gowdy

    (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

Abstract

We consider the microfoundations controversy from the perspective ofeconomic evolution and show that the debatecan benefit from lessons learned in evolutionary biology. Althoughthe analogy between biology and economics hasbeen noted before, it has rarely focused on clarifying the micro-macro distinction in economic theory and modelling.The macroevolution controversy in biology has generated testabletheories such as the existence of punctuatedequilibria in evolutionary history, the distinction between selectionand sorting, and group selection. The micro-macrodebate is further developed in biology than in economics due to agreater degree of specialisation and interaction ofvarious sub-disciplines. The task for economists is to distinguishbetween insights directly relevant for economic theoryand ones that hinge on unique features of biological systems. Weargue that both micro and macro processes driveeconomic change and that macroeconomic change cannot be explained bymicro level optimising alone. We show thatdebates in biology about group selection and punctuated equilibriaare directly relevant to understanding economicevolution. The distinction between reductionism and holism is oflittle use and in its place a hierarchical approach isproposed. This allows for both upward and downward causation andinteraction between levels. Specific topicsincorporating ideas from evolutionary theory into economics are:economic exaptations, macroeconomic consequencesof institutions, and group selection. Two insights are: selection(sorting) can occur at levels above the individual firm;and, macroeconomic theories can be formulated without reference tofirm level descriptions. Micro and macroapproaches to economic change are complementary.

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: http://papers.tinbergen.nl/00021.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 00-021/3.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 22 Mar 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20000021

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Jack Hirshleifer, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," UCLA Economics Working Papers 087, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Dow, Sheila C, 1997. "Mainstream Economic Methodology," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 73-93, January.
  3. Raaj Kumar Sah & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1984. "The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies," NBER Working Papers 1334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-05, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  5. Foster, John, 1997. "The analytical foundations of evolutionary economics: From biological analogy to economic self-organization," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 427-451, October.
  6. Jeroen van den Bergh & John Gowdy, 2000. "Evolutionary Theories in Environmental and Resource Economics: Approaches and Applications," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 17(1), pages 37-57, September.
  7. Radner, Roy, 1970. "Problems in the Theory of Markets under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 454-60, May.
  8. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
  9. Twomey, Paul, 1998. "Reviving Veblenian Economic Psychology," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(4), pages 433-48, July.
  10. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
  11. Nelson, Richard R. & Pack, Howard, 1998. "The Asian miracle and modern growth theory," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1881, The World Bank.
  12. Hodgson, Geoffrey M, 1992. "Thorstein Veblen and Post-Darwinian Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 285-301, September.
  13. Witt, Ulrich, 1997. "Self-organization and economics--what is new?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 489-507, October.
  14. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  15. Nicolaides, Phedon, 1988. "Limits to the Expansion of Neoclassical Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 313-28, September.
  16. Hodgson, Geoffrey M, 1997. "The Ubiquity of Habits and Rules," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(6), pages 663-84, November.
  17. Gowdy, J M, 1992. "Higher Selection Processes in Evolutionary Economic Change," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-16, March.
  18. Harcourt,G. C., 1972. "Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521096720.
  19. John Gowdy & Susan Mesner, 1998. "The Evolution of Georgescu-Roegen's Bioeconomics," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(2), pages 136-156.
  20. Brander, James A & Taylor, M Scott, 1998. "The Simple Economics of Easter Island: A Ricardo-Malthus Model of Renewable Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 119-38, March.
  21. Bromley, Daniel W., 1990. "The ideology of efficiency: Searching for a theory of policy analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 86-107, July.
  22. Armen A. Alchian, 1950. "Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 211.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

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

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

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

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20000021. 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: (Antoine Maartens (+31 626 - 160 892)).

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.