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Is Novelty always a good thing? Towards an Evolutionary Welfare Economics

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  • Christian Schubert

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Abstract

Schumpeter’s and Hayek’s view of market coordination as being not about efficiency, but about endogenous change and never-ending discovery has been increasingly recognized even by the mainstream of economics. Underlying this view is the notion of creative learning agents who bring about novelty. We argue that apart from the challenges it poses for positive theorizing, novelty (be it technological, institutional or commercial) also has a complex normative dimension that standard welfare economics is unsuited to deal with. We show that welfare economics has to be reconstructed on the basis of evolutionary-naturalistic insights into the way human agents bring about, value and respond to novelty-induced change.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2009-03.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2009-03

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Keywords: Novelty; Endogenous Change; Preference Formation; Welfare; Justice Length 28 pages;

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References

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  1. Ulrich Witt, 2008. "What is specific about evolutionary economics?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 547-575, October.
  2. Robert Sugden, 2007. "The value of opportunities over time when preferences are unstable," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 665-682, December.
  3. Richard R. Nelson, 1995. "Recent Evolutionary Theorizing about Economic Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 48-90, March.
  4. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-72, October.
  5. Güth, Werner & Kliemt, Hartmut, 2010. "What ethics can learn from experimental economics -- If anything," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 302-310, September.
  6. Ulrich Witt, 2003. "Economic policy making in evolutionary perspective," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 77-94, 04.
  7. Tito Boeri & Axel Börsch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, 04.
  8. Yew-Kwang Ng, 2003. "From preference to happiness: Towards a more complete welfare economics," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 307-350, March.
  9. von Weizsacker, Carl Christian, 1971. "Notes on endogenous change of tastes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 345-372, December.
  10. Witt, Ulrich, 1991. "Economics, sociobiology and behavioral psychology on preferences," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 557-573, December.
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  13. Richard R. Nelson, 1981. "Assessing Private Enterprise: An Exegesis of Tangled Doctrine," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 93-111, Spring.
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  15. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "What Happiness Research Can Tell Us About Self-Control Problems and Utility Misprediction," IZA Discussion Papers 1952, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Gerhard Wegner, 1997. "Economic Policy From an Evolutionary Perspective: A New Approach," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(3), pages 485-, September.
  17. Witt, Ulrich, 1992. " The Endogenous Public Choice Theorist," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 117-29, January.
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  19. Bruni, Luigino & Sugden, Robert, 2008. "Fraternity: Why The Market Need Not Be A Morally Free Zone," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(01), pages 35-64, March.
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  21. Kerstenetzky, Celia Lessa, 2007. "Hayek and Popper on ignorance and intervention," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 33-53, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Jeroen Bergh & Giorgos Kallis, 2013. "A survey of evolutionary policy: normative and positive dimensions," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 281-303, October.
  2. Christian Schubert & Martin Binder, 2014. "Reconciling Normative and Behavioral Economics: An Application of the “Naturalistic Approach” to the Adaptation Problem," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 234(2-3), pages 350-365, April.

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