Rethinking Economic Evolution

Rethinking Economic Evolution

Essays on Economic Change and its Theory

Ulrich Witt

Modern economies never come to rest. From institutions to activities of production, trade, and consumption, everything is locked in processes of perpetual transformation – and so are our daily lives. Why and how do such transformations occur? What can economic theory tell us about these changes and where they might lead? Ulrich Witt’s book discusses why evolutionary concepts are necessary to answer such questions. While economic evolution is in many respects unique, it nonetheless needs to be seen within the broader context of natural evolution. By exploring this complex relationship, Rethinking Economic Evolution demonstrates the significance of an evolutionary economic theory.

Chapter 14: Economic policy making in evolutionary perspective

Ulrich Witt

Subjects: economics and finance, evolutionary economics


Economic policy making is discussed from three different angles: the political economy of actual policy making (“what policy does do”), the analysis of policy instruments for given ends (“what policy could do”), and the debate on policy goals and their legitimization (“what policy ought to do”). Center stage in the evolutionary perspective is new, positive and normative knowledge which is unfolding during the policy making process and in its aftermath. It is argued that this implies regularities and constraints which extend and modify the comparative-static interpretations of public choice theory, economic policy making theory, and social philosophy.

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