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Hayek and the Evolution of Designed Institutions: a Critical Assessment

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  • Christian Schubert

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Abstract

While Evolutionary Economics has devoted much attention to the attempt to explain the evolution of institutions that emerge spontaneously, the genesis, diffusion and evaluation of consciously designed institutions has largely been neglected. This paper tries to show (i) how an evolutionary approach to this problem could look like and (ii) in what way Friedrich A. v. Hayek's work can contribute to it. Three aspects are identified as playing a key role in this respect: first, Hayek's positive theory of both the legislative and the judicial law-making process; second, his normative theory, centered on the instrumental value of individual freedom for maintaining the epistemic superiority of spontaneous social orders; and third, his concept of democracy, based on a dynamic deliberation (instead of a static aggregation) view on individual preferences. While there are more or less wide gaps in all three original accounts, there are ways to fill them in an arguably "Hayekian" way and to combine the different threads to a conceptual basis for a Hayekian political economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Schubert, 2004. "Hayek and the Evolution of Designed Institutions: a Critical Assessment," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-11, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2004-11
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    Cited by:

    1. Gedeon, Péter, 2007. "Piaci rend és társadalmi normák. Hayek elmélete a társadalmi evolúcióról
      [Market order and social norms. Hayeks theory of social evolution]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(1), pages 1-28.
    2. Niclas Berggren, 2006. "Legal positivism and property rights: a critique of Hayek and Peczenik," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 217-235, September.
    3. Niclas Berggren, 2009. "Choosing one’s own informal institutions: on Hayek’s critique of Keynes’s immoralism," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, pages 139-159.
    4. Petrick, Martin, 2013. "Reversing the rural race to the bottom: an evolutionary model of neo-endogenous rural development," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 707-735.

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    Keywords

    Hayek; demogracy; Cultural Evolution; legal evolution; designed institutions;

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