Evolutionary Approaches to Population Thinking and the Problem of Growth and Development

  • J. Stanley Metcalfe
Part of the Recent Economic Thought Series book series (RETH, volume 74)


In this short essay we explore a new approach to the study of economic growth, innovation and competition, compatible with the idea of an economy as an evolving, adaptive system. This offers the promise of new theoretical insights on economic processes, suggests new foci for empirical enquiry, and may offer new opportunities for the modelling of adaptive processes based on computational methods. The central problem posed in this approach is that of economic transformation and it is with transformation that growth becomes possible. Economic transformation has qualitative and quantitative dimensions and the interaction between the two is central to the evolutionary story. The qualitative dimension is closely connected with the process of innovation and the introduction of `new’ and the withdrawal of `old’ economic activities. The quantitative dimension is inseparable from ongoing processes of structural change in the economy. The link between the two is provided, I suggest, by a dynamic theory of innovation and competition as co-evolutionary processes.


Unit Cost Innovation System Evolutionary Approach Replicator Dynamic Competitive Process 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

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  • J. Stanley Metcalfe

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