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Directional, stabilizing and disruptive selection: An analysis of aspects of economic evolution based on Price’s equation

  • Esben Sloth Andersen
  • Jacob Rubæk Holm

This paper tries to demonstrate that the well developed analysis of directional selection within evolutionary economics can be complemented by analyses of stabilizing selection and disruptive selection. It also tries to demonstrate that the evolutionary algebra provided by Price’s equation increases the intellectual coherence and power of thinking about selection and other aspects of evolutionary processes. The paper combines these aims by analysing the types of selection by means of the algebra of evolution provided by Price’s equation. To prepare for this task, the paper starts by reviewing recent discussions in relation to Price’s equation. This review includes the presentation of framework for analysing evolution that then is used for the definition and analysis of directional, stabilizing and disruptive selection. These types of selection are then related to fitness functions that can produce the different types of selection; and the functions are used for simple simulations of the change of the population distribution of a quantitative characteristic. Finally, Price’s equation is used to decompose the statistics of the changes of the frequency distributions. The changes of mean, variance, skewness and kurtosis are all decomposed as the sum of a selection effect and an intra-member effect. It is especially the signs of these effects that serve to define and characterize the different types of selection. Both this result and the general analysis of the types of selection seem to be of relevance for applied evolutionary economics.

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Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 13-10.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:13-10
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  1. Metcalfe, J S, 1994. "Competition, Fisher's Principle and Increasing Returns in the Selection Process," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 327-46, November.
  2. Eric Bartelsman & Andrea Bassanini & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Stefano Scarpetta & Thorsten Schank, 2002. "The Spread of ICT and Productivity Growth: Is Europe Really Lagging Behind in the New Economy?," CEPN Working Papers halshs-00289168, HAL.
  3. David Palfreyman, 2002. "Book Review," Higher Education Management and Policy, OECD Publishing, vol. 14(1), pages 127-133.
  4. Thorbj�rn Knudsen, 2004. "General selection theory and economic evolution: The Price equation and the replicator/interactor distinction," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 147-173.
  5. John Stanley Metcalfe & Ronnie Ramlogan, 2006. "Creative Destruction and the Measurement of Productivity Change," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 97(5), pages 373-397.
  6. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00289168 is not listed on IDEAS
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