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Accounting for Evolution: An Assessment of the Population Method

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  • J.S Metcalfe

Abstract

Growth dynamics and structural change are the two central features of variation / selection processes within populations. This paper explores them in terms of three themes, or sets of accounts, namely Logistic Growth Accounting, Competition Accounting and the Price Theorem. The accounting concepts have in common a concern with 'population thinking' and are essential elements in the study of economic development interpreted as the transformation of initial populations of activities into new kinds of populations. Development can be uncovered at many levels in an economic system, for example in the competitive process at the level of industries, sectors and markets. Business rivalry, underpinned by differential innovative activity, is the basis of the differential survival and growth of competing economic activities and the strategies deployed to create sustainable differences in competitive selection characteristics are at the core of the capitalist dynamic interpreted as an adaptive, evolutionary process. This kind of evolutionary argument is necessarily concerned with growth rate dynamics and the explanation of the diversity of growth rates across entities in a population. The accounting relationships presented are a prelude to deeper causal explanations of evolution in institutions, economies and perhaps in knowledge itself.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2004-21.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2004-21

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  1. Tybout, James, 1998. "Manufacuring firms in developing countries - how well do they do, and why?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1965, The World Bank.
  2. G. Hodgson & T. Knudsen, 2004. "The Nature and Units of Social Selection," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-24, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  3. Thorbj�rn Knudsen, 2004. "General selection theory and economic evolution: The Price equation and the replicator/interactor distinction," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 147-173.
  4. Nelson, Richard R & Pack, Howard, 1999. "The Asian Miracle and Modern Growth Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 416-36, July.
  5. J.S. Metcalfe, 2005. "Ed Mansfield and the Diffusion of Innovation: An Evolutionary Connection," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 30(2_2), pages 171-181, 01.
  6. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
  7. Kwasnicki, Witold & Kwasnicka, Halina, 1995. "Long-term diffusion factors of technological development - an evolutionary model and case study," MPRA Paper 22262, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Kurt Dopfer & John Foster & Jason Potts, 2004. "Micro-meso-macro," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 263-279, 07.
  9. Metcalfe, J S, 2001. "Institutions and Progress," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 561-86, September.
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Cited by:
  1. John Stanley Metcalfe & Ronnie Ramlogan, 2006. "Creative Destruction and the Measurement of Productivity Change," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 97(5), pages 373-397.
  2. G. Buenstorf, 2005. "How Useful Is Universal Darwinism as a Framework to Study Competition and Industrial Evolution?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2005-02, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.

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