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Metabolic growth theory: market-share competition, learning uncertainty, and technology wavelets


  • Ping Chen



Both exogenous and endogenous growth theories in neoclassical economics ignore the resource constraints and wavelike patterns in technology development. The logistic growth and species competition model in population dynamics provides an evolutionary framework of economic growth driven by technology wavelets in market-share competition. Learning by doing and knowledge accumulation ignores the interruptive nature of technology advancement. Creative destruction can be understood by using knowledge metabolism. Policies and institutions co-evolve during different stages of technology cycles. Division of labor is limited by the market extent, numbers of resources, and environment fluctuations. There is a trade-off between the stability and complexity of an ecological-industrial system. Diversified patterns in development strategy are shaped by culture and environment when facing learning uncertainty. The Western mode of division of labor is characterized by labor-saving and resource-intensive technology, while the Asian and Chinese modes feature resource-saving and labor-intensive technology. Nonlinear population dynamics provides a unified evolutionary theory from Smith, Malthus, to Schumpeter in economic growth and technology development. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Ping Chen, 2014. "Metabolic growth theory: market-share competition, learning uncertainty, and technology wavelets," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 239-262, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:24:y:2014:i:2:p:239-262 DOI: 10.1007/s00191-014-0341-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
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    3. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    4. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2001. "The Life-Cycle Model of Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
    5. Robert M. Solow, 1994. "Perspectives on Growth Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 45-54, Winter.
    6. Chen, Ping, 1987. "Origin of the division of labour and a stochastic mechanism of differentiation," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 246-250, June.
    7. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-1370, November.
    8. Dasgupta, Dipankar, 2010. "Modern Growth Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198069966, June.
    9. Chen Ping, 1996. "A Random Walk or Color Chaos on the Stock Market? Time-Frequency Analysis of S&P Indexes," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-19, July.
    10. Day, Richard H, 1982. "Irregular Growth Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 406-414, June.
    11. George J. Stigler, 1951. "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59, pages 185-185.
    12. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    More about this item


    Growth theory; Market-share competition; Technology wavelet; Learning uncertainty; Knowledge metabolism; C30; E37; D83; L50; O00;

    JEL classification:

    • C30 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - General
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • O00 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General - - - General


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