Complexity and EvolutionToward a New Synthesis for Economics

Complexity and EvolutionToward a New Synthesis for Economics

David S Wilson and Alan Kirman

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780262035385

Publisher: The MIT Press

Abstract

Two widely heralded yet contested approaches to economics have emerged in recent years. One follows an older, rather neglected approach which emphasizes evolutionary theory in terms of individuals and institutions. The other emphasizes economies as complex adaptive systems. Important concepts from evolutionary theory include the distinction between proximate and ultimate causation, multilevel selection, cultural change as an evolutionary process, and human psychology as a product of gene–culture coevolution. Relevant concepts from complexity theory include self-organization, fractals, chaos, sensitive dependence, basins of attraction, and path dependence. This book explores these two bodies of theory and their potential impact on economics. Central themes include the challenges that emerge through integration, evolutionary behavioral economics, and the evolution of institutions. Practical applications are provided and avenues for future research highlighted.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

David S. Wilson, Alan Kirman, and Julia Lupp

Challenges of Integrating Complexity and Evolution

5 Challenges of Integrating Complexity and Evolution into Economics

Robert Axtell, Alan Kirman, Iain D. Couzin, Daniel Fricke, Thorsten Hens, Michael E. Hochberg, John E. Mayfield, Peter Schuster, and Rajiv Sethi

Evolutionary Behavioral Economics

8 Evolutionary Behavioral Economics

Terence C. Burnham, Stephen E. G. Lea, Adrian V. Bell, Herbert Gintis, Paul W. Glimcher, Robert Kurzban, Leonhard Lades, Kevin McCabe, Karthik Panchanathan, Miriam Teschl, and Ulrich Witt

Evolution of Institutions and Organizations

9 The Diffusion of Institutions

Enrico Spolaore and Romain Wacziarg

12 Evolution of Institutions and Organizations

Thomas E. Currie, Peter Turchin, Jenna Bednar, Peter J. Richerson, Georg Schwesinger, Sven Steinmo, Romain Wacziarg, and John J. Wallis

Shaping the Evolution of Complex Societies

16 Advancing Agent_Zero

Joshua M. Epstein and Julia Chelen

17 Not Half Bad

Scott E. Page

18 Shaping the Evolution of Complex Societies

John Gowdy, Mariana Mazzucato, Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh, Sander E. van der Leeuw, and David S. Wilson