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Did Veblen Generalize Darwinism (And Why Does It Matter)?


  • Cyril Hédoin


This paper examines the claim that Veblen's theory of cultural evolution has generalized Darwinian principles to socioeconomic phenomena. Our argument takes place in the debate around "generalized Darwinism" in evolutionary and institutional economics. We claim that Veblen frequently relied on the concept of selection and considered institutions both as units and as factors of selection. We also argue that some of Veblen's insights can be clarified by expressing them in evolutionary-game theoretic terms. Thus, we suggest a close connection between the ontological framework of generalized Darwinism and the technical study of evolutionary phenomena through evolutionary game theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Cyril Hédoin, 2010. "Did Veblen Generalize Darwinism (And Why Does It Matter)?," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(4), pages 963-990.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:44:y:2010:i:4:p:963-990
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624440406

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