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Understanding Economic Change
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: November 2018
  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online ISBN: 9781316477168
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    • Online ISBN: 9781316477168
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Book description

With increasing innovations, the economy seems to be changing rapidly at a global scale. Are there any laws governing the incessant process of economic and social transformations? What does economic theory have to say on this change, and how do institutions and our democracies cope with the challenges that come with it? This volume discusses the advances which evolutionary economics has made in exploring questions like these. Leading international experts in the field review its development, outlining across three parts how the evolutionary approach is increasingly expanding into other domains in economics. The first part of the book focuses on the political economy and welfare effects of transformation. The second part discusses how economic theory can be extended to account for the salient features of the process of change. The third and final part deals with the paradigmatic shift that an evolutionary approach implies for economics.


Advance praise:‘This welcome collection of essays offers a rich perspective on the history and philosophy of evolutionary economics. It delves deep into core themes such as generalized Darwinism, institutions and bounded rationality, long-run economic development and evolutionary welfare theory, while also offering original applications to land use conflicts and unsustainable consumption.'

Jeroen van den Bergh - ICREA Research Professor, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Advance praise:‘As Ulrich Witt and Andreas Chai put it in their introduction, it is time for some stocktaking concerning progress in evolutionary economics. This excellent collection of essays performs that task admirably: a number of leading authors review developments in the field with erudition and careful criticism. This is a milestone volume.'

Geoffrey M. Hodgson - University of Hertfordshire

Advance praise:‘Evolutionary economics is in transition following a very productive and enlightening era when Nelson and Winter's ‘replicator dynamics' perspective was its reference point. The past decade has witnessed the rise of competing perspectives such as: rule based complex systems; game theoretical micro-foundations; general Darwinian theory; socio-biological models, where biology is not just used as an analogy. Although there is general agreement that economic evolution should be modelled, explicitly, as a historical process, methodological differences have become more marked. In this volume a very prominent set of contributors explain their different positions. The result is a very interesting and stimulating set of essays that are well-written and accessible to both evolutionary and mainstream economists and their students. Anyone who wishes to know what the key issues and debates are in evolutionary economics today need look no further than this excellent volume.'

John Foster - University of Queensland

Advance praise:‘More than one century after Thorsten Veblen coined the label evolutionary economics there is still no consensus on what constitutes the core of an evolutionary approach in economics. This volume will be welcome by readers interested in learning about the current state of the field and its prospective development. The essays collected represent the principal versions of evolutionary thinking in contemporary economics, covering methodological, theoretical and normative issues. The editors' Introduction provides helpful guidance in tracing the history of the field, placing the collected essays into a broader context and pointing to prospects for theoretical convergence and integration.'

Viktor J. Vanberg - University of Freiburg, Germany