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Austrian Economics as an Evolutionary Science

Witold Kwasnicki

A chapter in Austrian Economics: The Next Generation, 2018, vol. 23, pp 71-90 from Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Abstract: The author presents a comparative study of the three evolutionary economic schools, namely the Austrians, neo-Schumpeterians, and institutionalists. The comparison is based on an analysis of nine basic features of the evolutionary process and evolutionary approach, including a dynamical view of economic phenomena (seen from a historical perspective), a focus on far-from-equilibrium analysis, a proper and realistic perception of time, and a population perspective (to what extent emergent properties are results of interaction among economic agents). The relevant features of the evolutionary process are the heterogeneity and behavior of economic agents, the search for novelty based on a concept of economic agents’ hereditary information, a selection process (based on the concept of rivalry), spontaneity of development, and the presence of decision-making procedures (how economic agents make decisions, and to what extent their subjective values play a role). The goal of the comparative analysis is to estimate the level of “evolutionary content” of the three schools. My subjective evaluation suggests that only the Austrian school can be called entirely evolutionary. Slightly less evolutionary are the neo-Schumpeterians, and the least evolutionary are the institutionalists.

Keywords: Evolutionary economics; spontaneous order; Austrian School of Economics; neo-Schumpeterian economics; institutionalism; social Darwinism; natural selection; competition as rivalry process; B15; B25; B41; D50; E14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1108/S1529-213420180000023007

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