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The Origins of Meso Economics - Schumpeter's Legacy

  • Kurt Dopfer

The paper unravels the subversive nature of Schumpeter’s proposition that entrepreneurs carry out innovations (the micro level), that swarms of followers imitate them (meso) and that, as a consequence, 'creative destruction’ leads to economic development 'from within’ (macro). It is argued that Schumpeter paved the way for a new micro–meso–macro framework in economics. Centre stage is meso. Its essential characteristic is bimodality, meaning that one idea (the generic rule) can be physically actualised by many agents (a population). Ideas can relate to others, and, in this way, meso constitutes a structure component of a 'deep’ invisible macro structure. Equally, the rule actualisation process unfolds over time – modelled in the paper as a meso trajectory with three phases of rule origination, selective adoption and retention – and here meso represents a process component of a visible 'surface’ structure. The universal macro measure with a view to the appropriateness of meso components is generic correspondence. At the level of ideas, its measure is order; at that of actual relative adoption frequencies, it is generic equilibrium. Economic development occurs at the deep level as transition from one generic rule to another, inducing a change of order, and at the surface level as the new rule is adopted, destroying an old equilibrium and establishing a new one. The final third of the paper discusses a few of the rich set of major contributions to the Neo-Schumpeterian – micro-meso-macro - programme

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Paper provided by Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2006-10.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2006-10
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