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The competition and evolution of ideas in the public sphere: a new foundation for institutional theory



This paper advances and defends the proposition that the basis for the evolution of institutions is the evolution and competition of ideas in the public sphere. This is based on a deeper proposition that institutions are ideas and ideas become institutions. We draw on the ‘Brisbane School’ of evolutionary/institutional economics and of behavioural/psychological economics to investigate the microdynamics of the competition of ideas in the public sphere, which has been studied at a macroscopic level by Isabel Almudi, Francisco Fatas-Villafranca and Jason Potts. The theory we develop gives us a new vision of institutional evolution as emerging from the microdynamics of the evolution and competition of ideas in the public sphere, and a new foundation for institutional theory. It gives us a new vision of the microdynamics of institutional evolution, the evolutionary fitness of ideas for competition in the public sphere and the likely path of institutional evolution.


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Journal of Institutional Economics
  • ISSN: 1744-1374
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