Darwinian Foundations for Evolutionary Economics
Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 42, No. 2, pp. 415-423, 2008
15 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 3, 2010
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: Suggested Citation