Beliefs, Institutions and Development on Complex Landscapes
Mueller, B. 2016. "Beliefs, Institutions and Development on Complex Landscapes." Economic Analysis of Law Review. Vol. 7, Issue 2: 474-495.
22 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2017
Date Written: July 20, 2016
If institutions are the key to prosperity, why don’t all countries choose good institutions? This paper explores why it has been so hard for many countries to acquire development-enhancing beliefs. The paper uses fitness landscapes and coevolution as tools to understand how beliefs and institutions evolve. Fitness landscapes are a highly visual and intuitive means of portraying the problem faced by a society of searching for beliefs that guide the choice of institutions that lead to development and prosperity. The analysis shows why it could be that the evolutionary process is less effective at finding fit design in the case of beliefs and institutions than it is in other substrates such as biology, technology, and language.
Keywords: Development; Beliefs; Evolution; Fitness landscapes
JEL Classification: B52, D83, O10
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