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Economic Development from the Perspective of Evolutionary Economic Theory


  • Richard R. Nelson


The purpose of the article is to discuss the differences between the evolutionary economic theory and the neoclassical theory from the appreciative viewpoint that aims to capture the basics of what actually is going on, leaving aside formal mathematical modeling in the two theories. As the result, evolutionary theory sees the economy as always in the process of change that involves economic actors taking actions that break from previous behavior, and an environment in continuing flux because of the innovation. While neoclassical theory sees the economy as at rest, or undergoing well anticipated change it has nothing to say about these kinds of conditions. Therefore the author believes the processes of economic catch-up have to proceed under the implicit or explicit guidance of an evolutionary economic theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard R. Nelson, 2006. "Economic Development from the Perspective of Evolutionary Economic Theory," The Other Canon Foundation and Tallinn University of Technology Working Papers in Technology Governance and Economic Dynamics 02, TUT Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance.
  • Handle: RePEc:tth:wpaper:02

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