IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Theory of Evolution and the Evolution of Theory: Veblen's Methodology in Contemporary Perspective


  • Argyrous, George
  • Sethi, Rajiv


This paper traces recent developments in economic theory from the perspective of Thorstein Veblen's methodological distinction between teleological and evolution modes of scientific thought. It is argued that the imposition of rational behavior at the individual level prevents neoclassical theory from exhibiting genuine evolutionary processes since decision rules are prevented from emerging out of a process of adaptation to a changing environment. The standard rationality postulate can nevertheless give rise to quasi-evolutionary sequences at the aggregate level. This possibility is blocked in macroeconomic literature by the use of the representative agent construct and the imposition of the hypothesis of self-fulfilling expectations. (c) 1996 Academic Press Limited Copyright 1996 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Argyrous, George & Sethi, Rajiv, 1996. "The Theory of Evolution and the Evolution of Theory: Veblen's Methodology in Contemporary Perspective," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(4), pages 475-495, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:20:y:1996:i:4:p:475-95

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Silverberg, Gerald & Lehnert, Doris, 1993. "Long waves and 'evolutionary chaos' in a simple Schumpeterian model of embodied technical change," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 9-37, June.
    2. Crepon, Bruno & Duguet, Emmanuel, 1997. "Research and development, competition and innovation pseudo-maximum likelihood and simulated maximum likelihood methods applied to count data models with heterogeneity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 355-378, August.
    3. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Does the "New Economy" Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 49-74, Fall.
    4. Hausman, Jerry & Hall, Bronwyn H & Griliches, Zvi, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 909-938, July.
    5. Crepon, Bruno & Duguet, Emmanuel, 1997. "Estimating the Innovation Function from Patent Numbers: GMM on Count Panel Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 243-263, May-June.
    6. Chris Freeman & Luc Soete, 1997. "The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262061953, January.
    7. Kleinknecht, Alfred, 1990. "Are There Schumpeterian Waves of Innovations?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 81-92, March.
    8. Cincera, Michele, 1997. "Patents, R&D, and Technological Spillovers at the Firm Level: Some Evidence from Econometric Count Models for Panel Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 265-280, May-June.
    9. Solomou, Solomos, 1986. "Innovation Clusters and Kondratieff Long Waves in Economic Growth," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 101-112, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Bögenhold, Dieter & Michaelides, Panayotis G. & Papageorgiou, Theofanis, 2016. "Schumpeter, Veblen and Bourdieu on Institutions and the Formation of Habits," MPRA Paper 74585, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Viano Francesca Lidia, 2002. "Guesswork and knowledge in evolutionary economics: verblen revisited," CESMEP Working Papers 200205, University of Turin.
    3. Villena, Mauricio G. & Villena, Marcelo J., 2004. "Evolutionary Game Theory and Thorstein Veblen’s Evolutionary Economics: Is EGT Veblenian?," MPRA Paper 28889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Felipe Almeida, 2016. "Society and brain: A complementary approach to Thorstein Veblen’s conspicuous consumer based on Tibor Scitovsky’s neuropsychology [Society and brain: A complementary approach to Thorstein Veblen’s con," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 26(2), pages 347-367, May-Augus.
    5. Nicolai J. Foss, 1996. "Thorstein B. Veblen Precursor of the Competence-Based Approach to the Firm," DRUID Working Papers 96-15, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:20:y:1996:i:4:p:475-95. 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: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.