Darwinian Foundations for Evolutionary Economics

Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 42, No. 2, pp. 415-423, 2008

15 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2010

See all articles by J. W. Stoelhorst

J. W. Stoelhorst

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Business School

Date Written: February 3, 2010

Abstract

Veblen (1898) presented a vision of an evolutionary economics to study the process of economic development in terms of individual action and cumulative causation. In this paper I engage with the recent methodological debate on the potential contribution of Darwinism to such an evolutionary economics. I argue that ontological continuity, generalized Darwinism, and multi-level selection are all necessary building blocks to construct an explanatory framework that can fulfill the promise of Veblen’s evolutionary research program. I clarify the cumulative causation logic of generalized Darwinism and suggest a layered ontology for the study of economic development on the basis of multi-level selection theory. Conceptualizing economic development in these terms has interesting implications for the understanding of the role of institutions in an evolutionary analysis: institutions only become units of selection in the competition between groups of individuals.

Keywords: Generalized Darwinism, Institutions, Veblen

JEL Classification: B15, B41, B52

Suggested Citation

Stoelhorst, J. W., Darwinian Foundations for Evolutionary Economics (February 3, 2010). Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 42, No. 2, pp. 415-423, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1547164

J. W. Stoelhorst (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Business School ( email )

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Amsterdam, 1018 TV
Netherlands
31 20 525 5689 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www1.fee.uva.nl/pp/jwstoelhorst/

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