Evolution as a general theoretical framework for economics and public policy
Economic and evolutionary thinking have been entwined throughout their histories, but evolutionary theory does not function as a general theoretical framework for economics and public policy, as it does for the biological sciences. In this lead article for a special issue of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, we first describe how evolution functions as a general theoretical framework in the biological sciences. Then we consider four reasons why evolution might not need to be consulted for human-related subjects such as economics and public policy. We conclude that these reasons can be valid in particular cases, but they fail for any sizeable human-related subject area. Hence evolution can and should become a general theoretical framework for economics and public policy. The other articles in the special issue help to substantiate this claim.
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Volume (Year): 90 (2013)
Issue (Month): S ()
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- Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh & John M. Gowdy, 2003.
"The microfoundations of macroeconomics: an evolutionary perspective,"
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- Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & John M. Gowdy, 2000. "The Microfoundations of Macroeconomics: An Evolutionary Perspective," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-021/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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- Veblen, Thorstein, 1898. "Why Economics is not an Evolutionary Science," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 12.
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- Leonard, Thomas C., 2009. "Origins of the myth of social Darwinism: The ambiguous legacy of Richard Hofstadter's Social Darwinism in American Thought," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 37-51, July.
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