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Hayek and the Evolution of Designed Institutions: a Critical Assessment

Christian Schubert ()

Papers on Economics and Evolution from Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography

Abstract: While Evolutionary Economics has devoted much attention to the attempt to explain the evolution of institutions that emerge spontaneously, the genesis, diffusion and evaluation of consciously designed institutions has largely been neglected. This paper tries to show (i) how an evolutionary approach to this problem could look like and (ii) in what way Friedrich A. v. Hayek's work can contribute to it. Three aspects are identified as playing a key role in this respect: first, Hayek's positive theory of both the legislative and the judicial law-making process; second, his normative theory, centered on the instrumental value of individual freedom for maintaining the epistemic superiority of spontaneous social orders; and third, his concept of democracy, based on a dynamic deliberation (instead of a static aggregation) view on individual preferences. While there are more or less wide gaps in all three original accounts, there are ways to fill them in an arguably "Hayekian" way and to combine the different threads to a conceptual basis for a Hayekian political economy.

Keywords: Hayek; demogracy; Cultural Evolution; legal evolution; designed institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 23 pages
Date: 2004-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-his and nep-hpe
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