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Does Classical Liberalism Imply an Evolutionary Approach to Policy-Making?

Journal of Bioeconomics, Forthcoming

Freiburg Discussion papers on Constitutional Economics No. 14/07

36 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2014  

Jan Schnellenbach

BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Institute for Economics, Chair for Microeconomics; Walter Eucken Institute

Date Written: August 6, 2014

Abstract

This paper argues that an evolutionary approach to policy-making, which emphasizes openness to change and political variety, is particularly compatible with the central tenets of classical liberalism. The chief reasons are that classical liberalism acknowledges the ubiquity of uncertainty, as well as heterogeneity in preferences and beliefs, and generally embraces gradual social and economic change that arises from accidental variation rather than deliberate, large-scale planning. In contrast, our arguments cast doubt on a different claim, namely that classical liberalism is particularly compatible with the evolutionary biological heritage of humans.

Keywords: classical liberalism, evolution, Darwinism, economic policy, cultural evolution, institutional evolution

JEL Classification: D63, D79, H11, B30, B41, Z10

Suggested Citation

Schnellenbach, Jan, Does Classical Liberalism Imply an Evolutionary Approach to Policy-Making? (August 6, 2014). Journal of Bioeconomics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2492597

Jan Schnellenbach (Contact Author)

BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Institute for Economics, Chair for Microeconomics ( email )

Erich-Weinert-Str. 1
Cottbus, 03046
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.b-tu.de/fg-vwl-mikro/team/prof-dr-jan-schnellenbach

Walter Eucken Institute ( email )

Goethestr. 10
Freiburg, 79100
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.eucken.de

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