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The ontology of complexity and the neo-Schumpeterian evolutionary theory of economic change

Author

Listed:
  • Verónica Robert

    (Idaes-UNSAM / Conicet. Sarmiento 2549 5to C)

  • Gabriel Yoguel

    (IdeI-UNGS)

  • Octavio Lerena

    (IdeI-UNGS)

Abstract

Different studies have tried to find a common thread that places different evolutionary and neo-Schumpeterian contributions to economic change under one umbrella. The complexity approach can account for a set of attributes that evolutionary economics has been considering, as decentralized interaction, heterogeneous agents, bounded rationality, networks of linkages, non-linear dynamics, divergent paths, disequilibrium and emergent properties. In this regard, the complexity approach could be a theoretical and conceptual starting point that allows the integration of different contributions (Davis, 2008; Fontana, 2013). In this article, we attempt to show that complexity can also be useful to point out the profound differences between evolutionary strands. This paper analyzes how the ontological evolutionary assumptions of complexity are emphasized with different intensity by different groups of representative contributions of evolutionary economics. We propose that these differences reflect deeper issues related to two major concerns of economic theory: coordination and order vs. transformation and change of economic systems (Dosi and Orsenigo 1988). In this context, the hypothesis of the article is that complexity acts as an umbrella and at the same time as a differentiating criterion of different strands within evolutionary economics, since their ontological assumptions relate differentially to these two concerns. Using a bibliometric methodology, we identify a set of representative contributions for five strands of evolutionary economics. Additionally, we analyze how the various dimensions and attributes of complexity ontology are emphasized unevenly by each group of contributions. To show the differences, we quote fragments from contributions corresponding to the dimensions and attributes of the complexity and use a set of nonparametric tests to corroborate the significance of the differences in the frequency in which these references appear. The results show that, while groups concerned with coordination are focused on heterogeneity and networks assumptions, groups concerned with transformation stress path dependence and divergent dynamics. Emergent properties are common to all of them.

Suggested Citation

  • Verónica Robert & Gabriel Yoguel & Octavio Lerena, 2017. "The ontology of complexity and the neo-Schumpeterian evolutionary theory of economic change," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 761-793, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:27:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00191-017-0512-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s00191-017-0512-x
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    Cited by:

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    2. Frolov, Daniil, 2018. "Постинституционализм: За Пределами Институционального Мейнстрима [Post-institutionalism: Beyond the Institutional Mainstream]," MPRA Paper 90287, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Yoguel, Gabriel & Pereira, Mariano, 2014. "Industrial and technological policy: Contributions from evolutionary perspectives to policy design in developing countries," MPRA Paper 56290, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Natera, Jose Miguel & Castellacci, Fulvio, 2021. "Transformational complexity, systemic complexity and economic development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(7).
    5. Frolov, Daniil, 2019. "Постинституционализм: Программа Исследований За Пределами Институционального Мейнстрима [Post-institutionalism: research program beyond the institutional mainstream]," MPRA Paper 92328, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Smita Srinivas, 2020. "Institutional variety and the future of economics," Review of Evolutionary Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 13-35, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Complexity; Evolutionary theory; Neo-Schumpeterian; Economic change; Coordination;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Modern Monetary Theory;
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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