On the divergence of evolutionary research paths in the past fifty years: a comprehensive bibliometric account
This work presents a comprehensive survey on evolutionary economics intending at exploring the main research path and contributions of this theorizing framework using bibliometric methods. This documentation effort is based on a review of the abstracts from articles published in all economic journals gathered from the Econlit database over the past fifty years. Before 1990, the importance of published evolutionary related research is almost negligible. More than 90% of total papers were published after that date. An important point in the analysis is developed around the choices that have been made by evolutionist researchers in terms of formalism versus empiricism. The general perception within evolutionary (and non-evolutionary) researchers is that in this field formalization lags behind the conceptual work. However, as we show in the present paper, formal approaches have a reasonable and increasing share of published papers between 1969 and 2006 (around one-third). In contrast, purely empirical-related works are relatively scarce, involving a meagre and stagnant percentage (7%) of published works for the period 1992 up to 2006. The most important method, however, is the ‘Appreciative’ with approximately half of the articles. In addition, as evolutionary contributions apparently have not converged to an integrated approach, we document the more important paths emergent in this field. Our results show two rather extreme main research strands: ‘History of Economic Thought and Methodology’ (29.0%) and ‘Games’ (18.4%). ‘Development, Environment and Policy’ (14.2%) emerges as the third most frequent category.
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