IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/cambje/v27y2003i1p65-84.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The microfoundations of macroeconomics: an evolutionary perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh
  • John M. Gowdy

Abstract

We consider the microfoundations controversy from the perspective of economic evolution. Although the analogy between biology and economics has been noted before, it has rarely focused on clarifying the micro--macro distinction in economic theory and modelling. The micro--macro debate is more developed in biology than in economics owing to a greater degree of specialisation and a greater degree of interaction between various sub-disciplines. The task for economists is to distinguish between insights directly relevant for economic theory and ones that hinge on unique features of biological systems. We argue that both micro and macro processes drive economic change and that macroeconomic change cannot be explained by microlevel optimising alone. We show that debates in biology about group selection and punctuated equilibria are relevant to understanding economic evolution. The opposition of reductionism and holism is of little use and, in its place, a hierarchical approach is proposed. This allows for both upward and downward causation and interaction between levels. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh & John M. Gowdy, 2003. "The microfoundations of macroeconomics: an evolutionary perspective," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(1), pages 65-84, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:27:y:2003:i:1:p:65-84
    as

    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.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Radner, Roy, 1970. "Problems in the Theory of Markets under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 454-460, May.
    2. Brander, James A & Taylor, M Scott, 1998. "The Simple Economics of Easter Island: A Ricardo-Malthus Model of Renewable Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 119-138, March.
    3. Nelson, Richard R & Pack, Howard, 1999. "The Asian Miracle and Modern Growth Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 416-436, July.
    4. Bromley, Daniel W., 1990. "The ideology of efficiency: Searching for a theory of policy analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 86-107, July.
    5. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
    6. Twomey, Paul, 1998. "Reviving Veblenian Economic Psychology," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(4), pages 433-448, July.
    7. Harcourt,G. C., 1972. "Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521096720, May.
    8. Nicolaides, Phedon, 1988. "Limits to the Expansion of Neoclassical Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 313-328, September.
    9. Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-131, March.
    10. Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1986. "The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 716-727, September.
    11. Armen A. Alchian, 1950. "Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 211-211.
    12. Gowdy, J M, 1992. "Higher Selection Processes in Evolutionary Economic Change," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-16, March.
    13. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-337, May.
    14. repec:cup:apsrev:v:80:y:1986:i:04:p:1171-1185_18 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Foster, John, 1997. "The analytical foundations of evolutionary economics: From biological analogy to economic self-organization," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 427-451, October.
    16. Hodgson, Geoffrey M, 1997. "The Ubiquity of Habits and Rules," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(6), pages 663-684, November.
    17. Dow, Sheila C, 1997. "Mainstream Economic Methodology," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 73-93, January.
    18. Hodgson, Geoffrey M, 1992. "Thorstein Veblen and Post-Darwinian Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 285-301, September.
    19. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:27:y:2003:i:1:p:65-84. 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: https://academic.oup.com/cje .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.