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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 16 No. 2 (Spring 2002)


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Evolutionary Theorizing in Economics

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Nelson, Richard R., and Sidney G. Winter. 2002. "Evolutionary Theorizing in Economics." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(2): 23-46.

DOI: 10.1257/0895330027247


This paper reviews the case for an evolutionary approach to problems of economic analysis, ranging from the details of individual firm behavior in the short run through industrial dynamics to the historical evolution of institutions and technologies. We draw upon a substantial body of recent research contributions. We characterize micro behavior as governed by skills and routines that are shaped by learning and selection. We then consider major areas of application of evolutionary thinking, including the analysis of competitive processes in technologically dynamic industries and the evolution of institutions and technologies.

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Nelson, Richard R. (Columbia University, New York, New York, USA)
Winter, Sidney G. (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)


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