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How to generalize Darwinism suitably to help understand both the evolution and the development of economies


  • Pavel Pelikan


This paper agrees that a suitably generalized Darwinism may help understand socioeconomic change, but finds the most publicized generalization by Hodgson and Knudsen unsuitable. To do better, it generalizes the extension of Neo-Darwinism into evolutionary developmental biology ("evo-devo"), which pays more attention to genomes-as-instructors than to genes-as-replicators, and to the entire process of instructed development than to fully developed organisms. The new generalization has clear connections to economics with a minimum guarantee of helpfulness: it generalizes both evo-devo and previously elaborated approaches that already helped understand specific issues of comparative economics, economic reforms, and transformation policies

Suggested Citation

  • Pavel Pelikan, 2009. "How to generalize Darwinism suitably to help understand both the evolution and the development of economies," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2008-17, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2008-17

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Nikolai Roussanov, 2009. "Conspicuous Consumption and Race," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 425-467.
    2. Phuong Nguyen & Pier-Paolo Saviotti & Michel Trommetter & Bernard Bourgeois, 2005. "Variety and the evolution of refinery processing," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 469-500, June.
    3. Sugden, Robert, 1989. "Spontaneous Order," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 85-97, Fall.
    4. Paul Windrum, 2005. "Heterogeneous preferences and new innovation cycles in mature industries: the amateur camera industry 1955--1974," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(6), pages 1043-1074, December.
    5. Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899.
    6. Radner, Roy & Rothschild, Michael, 1975. "On the allocation of effort," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 358-376, June.
    7. Saviotti, P. P. & Metcalfe, J. S., 1984. "A theoretical approach to the construction of technological output indicators," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 141-151, June.
    8. H. Leibenstein, 1950. "Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen Effects in the Theory of Consumers' Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 183-207.
    9. Pier Paolo Saviotti, 2001. "special issue: Variety, growth and demand," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 119-142.
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    More about this item


    evolution of instructions; instructed development of interactors; multilevel evolution and development; evolution of institutional rules; development of economies Length 36 pages;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • P50 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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