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Complexity thinking and evolutionary economic geography

  • Ron Martin
  • Peter Sunley

Thus far, most of the work towards the construction of an evolutionary economic geography has drawn upon a particular version of evolutionary economics, namely the Nelson-Winter framework, which blends Darwinian concepts and metaphors (especially variety, selection, novelty and inheritance) and elements of a behavioural theory of the firm. Much less attention has been directed to an alternative conception based on complexity theory, yet in recent years complexity theory has increasingly been concerned with the general attributes of evolutionary natural and social systems. In this paper we explore the idea of the economic landscape as a complex adaptive system. We identify several key notions of what is being called the new ‘complexity economics’, and examine whether and in what ways these can be used to help inform an evolutionary perspective for understanding the uneven development and adaptive transformation of the economic landscape.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Journal of Economic Geography.

Volume (Year): 7 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 573-601

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:7:y:2007:i:5:p:573-601
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  1. Koen Frenken & Ron A. Boschma, 2007. "A theoretical framework for Evolutionary Economic Geography: Industrial dynamics and urban growth as a branching process," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0701, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Mar 2007.
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  8. Brian J. Loasby, 2001. "Industrial Dynamics Why Connections Matter," DRUID Working Papers 01-09, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
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  23. Jürgen Essletzbichler & David L. Rigby, 2007. "Exploring evolutionary economic geographies," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(5), pages 549-571, September.
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