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Recent Developments in Evolutionary Biology and Their Relevance for Evolutionary Economics


  • Karin Knottenbauer


The paper gives attention to the question of whether the development of evolutionary theories in biology over the last twenty years has any implications for evolutionary economics. Though criticisms of Darwin and the modern synthesis have always existed, most of them have not been widely accepted or have been absorbed by the mainstream. Recent findings in evolutio¬nary biology have started to question again the main principles of the modern synthesis. These findings suggest amongst others that the phenomena of co-operation, communication, and self-organization have been under-estimated, and that selection is not the predominant factor of evolution, but only one among many. Thus, in evolutionary economics, the question is whether the popular variation-retention-selection principle is still up to date. The implications for evolutionary economics with respect to analogies, generalized Darwinism, and the continuity hypothesis are also addressed.

Suggested Citation

  • Karin Knottenbauer, 2009. "Recent Developments in Evolutionary Biology and Their Relevance for Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-11, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2009-11

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ulrich Witt, 2004. "On the proper interpretation of 'evolution' in economics and its implications for production theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 125-146.
    2. Christian Cordes, 2006. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to continuity," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 16(5), pages 529-541, December.
    3. Ulrich Witt, 2008. "What is specific about evolutionary economics?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 547-575, October.
    4. Guido Buenstorf, 2006. "How useful is generalized Darwinism as a framework to study competition and industrial evolution?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 16(5), pages 511-527, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Romar Correa, 2010. "Regime-Changes in a Stock-Flow-Consistent Model," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage:, vol. 8(1), pages 24-33.
    2. Georg Schwesinger, 2013. "Natural and Economic Selection - Lessons from the Evo-Devo and Multilevel Selection Debate," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-014, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item


    Analogies; evo-devo; evolutionary economics; evolutionary biology; co-operation; genes; Lamarckism; modern synthesis; neo-Darwinism; selection; self-organization Length 18 pages;

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