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Complexity Thinking and Evolutionary Economic Geography

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  • Ron Martin
  • Peter Sunley

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2007. "Complexity Thinking and Evolutionary Economic Geography," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0703, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Apr 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:0703
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    complexity theory; evolution; economic landscape; networks; emergence; regional adaptation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Modern Monetary Theory;
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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