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A formal psychological theory for evolutionary economics

Brendan Markey-Towler

Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 2018, vol. 28, issue 4, 691-725

Abstract: Abstract The purpose of this paper is to seek to rise to the challenge posed by Harstad and Selten by providing a single unifying model of the psychological processes underlying the behaviour which drives the process of economic evolution. It seeks, in short, to make evolutionary economics yet more intellectually competitive. A self-contained account is given of a new model of the psychology of economic behaviour developed at the University of Queensland as part of the legacy of the Brisbane Club of evolutionary economists. Two results derived within this model are presented - the “Schumpeter” and “Made to Stick” theorems - and are used to elaborate the centrality of knowledge and its growth to the behaviour which drives evolutionary processes in the economy. A core contribution of this paper is to identify the way in which knowledge thus evolves. These are then used to elaborate explanations of evolutionary economic behaviour on both sides of the production-consumption dichotomy, in particular the manner in which the growth of knowledge may be facilitated by interpersonal interaction and particular conditions in the mind, or personality types. We discuss some relevant policy aspects of the model before concluding. The intention of this paper is to provide a basis for future research aiming to build a more coherent, more comprehensive and more simple view of the behaviour driving evolutionary dynamics.

Keywords: Evolutionary economics; Behaviour; Psychology; Consumption; Innovation; Entrepreneurship (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C00 D01 D03 D11 D21 D80 D84 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:28:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s00191-018-0566-4