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Darwinism in economics: from analogy to continuity

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  • Christian Cordes

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Abstract

Currently there is an ongoing discussion about how Darwinian concepts should be harnessed to further develop economic theory. Two approaches to this question, Universal Darwinism and the continuity hypothesis, are presented in this paper. It is shown whether abstract principles can be derived from Darwin’s explanatory model of biological evolution that can be applied to cultural evolution. Furthermore, the relation of the ontological basis of biological and cultural evolution is clarified. Some examples illustrate the respective potential of the two approaches to serve as a starting-point for theory development.
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Suggested Citation

  • Christian Cordes, 2006. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to continuity," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 16(5), pages 529-541, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:16:y:2006:i:5:p:529-541
    DOI: 10.1007/s00191-006-0027-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Boyd, Robert & Richerson, Peter J., 1980. "Sociobiology, culture and economic theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 97-121, June.
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    3. Metcalfe, J S, 2001. "Institutions and Progress," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 561-586, September.
    4. Sidney G. Winter, 1964. "Economic "Natural Selection" and the Theory of the Firm," LEM Chapters Series,in: Yale Economic Essays, pages 225-272 Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    5. Armen A. Alchian, 1950. "Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 211-211.
    6. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2003. "The Mystery of the Routine. The Darwinian Destiny of An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(2), pages 355-384.
    7. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. & Knudsen, Thorbjorn, 2006. "Why we need a generalized Darwinism, and why generalized Darwinism is not enough," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-19, September.
    8. Thorbj, rn Knudsen, 2002. "Economic selection theory," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 443-470.
    9. Christian Cordes, 2004. "Veblen's "Instinct of Workmanship," its Cognitive Foundations, and Some Implications for Economic Theory," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-01, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    10. Witt, Ulrich, 2000. "Changing Cognitive Frames--Changing Organizational Forms: An Entrepreneurial Theory of Organizational Development," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 733-755, December.
    11. Jack Vromen, 2004. "Conjectural revisionary economic ontology: Outline of an ambitious research agenda for evolutionary economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 213-247.
    12. Ulrich Witt, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    13. V. J. Vanberg, 2004. "Human Intentionality and Design In Cultural Evolution," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    14. Jack J. Vromen, 2001. "The Human Agent in Evolutionary Economics," Chapters,in: Darwinism and Evolutionary Economics, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2002. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to ontology," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 259-281.
    16. Christian Cordes, 2004. "The Human Adaptation for Culture and its Behavioral Implications," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 143-163, May.
    17. repec:mes:jeciss:v:39:y:2005:i:1:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Christian Cordes, 2005. "Long-term tendencies in technological creativity - a preference-based approach," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 149-168, January.
    19. Ulrich Witt, 2004. "On Novelty and Heterogeneity," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic selection theory; Economic theory development; Darwinism; Cultural evolution; Continuity hypothesis; B41; B52; A12; D00; O10;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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