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  • Series: New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series x
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Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, Albert Faber, Annemarth M. Idenburg and Frans H. Oosterhuis

This study offers a unique evolutionary economics perspective on energy and innovation policies in the wider context of the transition to sustainable development.
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Wilfred Dolfsma

The formation of preferences is an elusive subject that many social scientists, and especially economists, have tended to avoid. In this original new book, Wilfred Dolfsma combines institutional economics with insights from the other social sciences to analyse the way in which preferences are formed in a social context.
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Glen Atkinson and Stephen P. Paschall

Law and economics are interdependent. Using a historical case analysis approach, this book demonstrates how the legal process relates to and is affected by economic circumstances. Glen Atkinson and Stephen P. Paschall examine this co-evolution in the context of the economic development that occurred in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as well as the impact of the law on that development. Specifically, the authors explore the development of a national market, the transformation of the corporation, and the conflict between state and federal control over businesses. Their focus on dynamic, integrated systems presents an alternative to mainstream law and economics.
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Mehrdad Vahabi

Economic science has extensively studied the creative power of individuals and social groups, but it has largely ignored the destructive power of economic agents. This highly original book redresses the balance and, for the first time, looks at how much an agent can destroy. Destructive power is conceptualised in a unique way, covering all types of deliberate (violent and non-violent) social conflict behaviour. The theoretical arguments in the book are skilfully linked to burning political issues of our time such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Second Gulf War.
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Edited by Lars Magnusson and Jan Ottosson

The notion and interpretation of path dependence have been discussed and utilized in various social sciences during the last two decades. This innovative book provides significant new insights onto how the different applications of path dependence have developed and evolved. The authors suggest that there has been a definite evolution from applications of path dependence in the history of technology towards other fields of social science. They also discuss the various definitions of path dependence (strong or weak) and explore the potential applications of path dependence in new areas such as political economy and economic geography.
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Åke E. Andersson and David Emanuel Andersson

In this challenging book, the authors demonstrate that economists tend to misunderstand capital. Frank Knight was an exception, as he argued that because all resources are more or less durable and have uncertain future uses they can consequently be classed as capital. Thus, capital rather than labor is the real source of creativity, innovation, and accumulation. But capital is also a phenomenon in time and in space. Offering a new and path-breaking theory, they show how durable capital with large spatial domains — infrastructural capital such as institutions, public knowledge, and networks — can help explain the long-term development of cities and nations.
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Åke E. Andersson and David Emanuel Andersson

The games of markets including entrepreneur-driven economic development have always taken place on an arena of the combined material and non-material infrastructure. The infrastructure thus constitutes the arena; it is public capital that facilitates and constrains the rapid “games” of buying and selling that economic agents play. Agents perceive the arena as stable because its evolution is so much slower than that of markets for goods and services. Synergetic theory is well equipped to handle such multiple timescales. Its application to economic phenomena enables us to show that competitive equilibrium theory requires prior specification of the infrastructural arena, which consists of public knowledge, space-bridging networks and institutions. Synergetic theory can also help us avoid the pitfalls of conventional macroeconomic theory. In this chapter, we demonstrate how macroeconomic equilibrium depends on the infrastructure. We claim that all goods are durable and are thus instances of capital. This means that historical trajectories, current outcomes, uncertain expectations and changes in spatial accessibility all influence the growth and fluctuations in the value of capital goods. Dynamic non-linear interactions between scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs affect investments. New technological or design ideas spread most easily among spatially proximate firms within communication and transport networks. Such network effects shape processes of spatial clustering, agglomeration and urbanization. Based on causal and various econometric considerations, it has been common for economists to resort to difference equation in their modeling strategies. But if we include dynamic interactions within a system of difference equations—so as to accommodate realistic causal assumptions—it will often result in complex models with chaotic outcomes. However, there are ways out of chaos in economic modeling. The first is to focus on continuous dynamic synergetic models, which implies a careful separation of variables and dynamic processes according to their relevant timescales as well as the collectiveness of their impacts.

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Åke E. Andersson and David Emanuel Andersson

Classical economists such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx introduced the concepts of time and capital to economics. They developed the labor theory of value, thereby assuming that the historical process of accumulated labor would determine the value of capital goods. By the end of the nineteenth century, a number of economists had started to question this approach to capital theory. Carl Menger proposed a completely different theory, focusing instead on the role of expectations. He used this new theory as an argument against the labor theory of value; the subjective preferences of consumers rather than labor inputs were for Menger the ultimate source of economic value, including the value of capital. According to Menger, historical circumstances have made goods available in the present, and these circumstances mostly reflect producers’ expectations of future profits. Subsequently, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk and Knut Wicksell formulated dynamic models that showed that the expected future flow of returns would determine the value of capital. They linked this to an optimality condition that required the expected growth rate of the capital value to equal the interest rate on loanable funds. In this chapter, we show that markets for works of art offer an especially lucid illustration of the importance of expectations and the irrelevance of labor inputs. Frank Knight was the first economist to analyze the structural uncertainty of long-term expectations, while Irving Fisher showed that the credit market is essential for investors in real capital. Fisher suggested the possibility of using a two-stage decision process. In the first stage, the investor would aim to maximize the expected value of a project. The second stage would make the investor aim at an optimal solution by becoming a borrower in the credit market. Wicksell and later John Maynard Keynes modeled the dual problem of an equilibrium interest rate and another interest rate that arises within the banking system as a cause of inflation or unemployment. Only much later was this to become the main concern of central banks.

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Åke E. Andersson and David Emanuel Andersson

Trade across space is central to economic theory. Trade presumes the existence of a transport system. Already in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo elaborated upon the gains from trade between two nations. It was the Law of Comparative Advantage in production that explained the gains from trade, according to Ricardo. Eli Heckscher and Bertil Ohlin reformulated Ricardian trade theory by treating spatially trapped resources in different locations as the root cause of the existence of comparative advantages. Their treatment of space-bridging frictions remained implicit, however. Stella Dafermos and Anna Nagurney addressed this neglect by transforming older theories of international trade into a very general class of network-based interregional models of trade and transportation. These were the so-called “variational inequality models.” The German economist Johann Heinrich von Thünen developed an early spatial alternative to mainstream trade theory. In 1826, he formulated a complete general equilibrium theory of transport, location, land use and trade in a continuous one-dimensional model. In the second half of the twentieth century, Martin Beckmann and Tönu Puu showed that von Thünen’s model is applicable to two-dimensional continuous space. Spatial economic theory, which in principle includes all theories of international and interregional trade, has evolved over time. Early implicit models evolved into models with discrete systems of regions and then into models with continuous one- or two-dimensional space. However, all of these theories and models assume the prior existence of a transport system. In this chapter we show that economic actors create networks of nodes (towns) and links (trading routes) because they expect various advantages to arise due to new opportunities for trade. Such network creation is a type of entrepreneurship that exhibits consequences that are unusually collective. Hence agglomerations of people and productive activities reflect accessibility differences and these differences are associated with unequal internal and external scale economies. We also show that there is a self-organizing process of network creation that makes cities more efficient over time.

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Åke E. Andersson and David Emanuel Andersson

Linear and linearized equations dominate economic and econometric modeling. The gains in terms of solubility and interpretation are considerable. However, important phenomena such as social interactions are then at best subject to informal treatments and at worst relegated to the class of supposedly irrelevant phenomena. This chapter explores the potential of non-linear dynamic theories and models of growth and development. We discuss examples of non-linear phenomena that are amenable to formal analysis such as the spread of infectious diseases, segregation processes and imitative behavior. Multiple equilibria occur frequently in non-linear models. One example is the Kaldor model of business cycles; another is Mees’s model of urban growth and decline. Analyzing the stability of models is central to the study of economic dynamics, where the dynamic stability of an equilibrium requires negative feedback. From the 1960s onward, structural stability became a recurrent catchphrase in dynamic analyses. In this chapter we claim that structural instability is a precondition for creativity in the development of new ideas in science and the arts. It is generally only possible to achieve a new stable equilibrium in conjunction with the completion of a creative process. Realistic dynamic economic models tend to contain a mixture of positive and negative feedback loops, leading to chaotic outcomes. One consequence is deterministic and stochastic processes become indistinguishable in practice. It is for this reason that Benoit Mandelbrot claimed that most “financial analyses” are spurious applications of stochastic theory to situations where fractal models would yield better pattern predictions.