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Evolutionary Growth Theory and Forms of Realism

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  • Northover, Patricia

Abstract

In response to arguable failings in neoclassical explanations of economic growth, R. Nelson and S. Winter have offered the alternative of an evolutionary theory for enhanced explanatory power. In so doing, they have introduced a distinction between 'formal' and 'appreciative' theory that has since been enthusiastically taken up by many. However, are Nelson and Winter's 'formalisms' really any different from a positivistic instrumentalism? In this paper, the author reassesses the fruitfulness of Nelson and Winter's formal theorizing on economic growth and the genuineness of their realist credentials by drawing on recent developments in the philosophy of science, systematized under the heading of transcendental realism. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Northover, Patricia, 1999. "Evolutionary Growth Theory and Forms of Realism," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(1), pages 33-63, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:23:y:1999:i:1:p:33-63
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    Cited by:

    1. John Finch & Nicola Dinnei, 2001. "Capturing Knightian Advantages of Large Business Organisations Through Group Decision-making Processes," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 379-403.
    2. Matutinovic, Igor, 2001. "The aspects and the role of diversity in socioeconomic systems: an evolutionary perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 239-256, November.
    3. Sandra Silva, 2009. "On evolutionary technological change and economic growth: Lakatos as a starting point for appraisal," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 111-135, February.
    4. Jack Vromen, 2013. "Competition as an evolutionary process: Mark Blaug and evolutionary economics," Chapters, in: Marcel Boumans & Matthias Klaes (ed.), Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes, chapter 9, pages 98-124, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Fulvio Castellacci, 2006. "A critical realist interpretation of evolutionary growth theorising," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(6), pages 861-880, November.

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