The Governance of Complexity
Edited by Kurt Dopfer
Chapter 13: Applying Evolutionary Economics to Public Policy – The Example of Competitive Federalism in the EU
13. Applying evolutionary economics to public policy – the example of competitive federalism in the EU Wolfgang Kerber 1. INTRODUCTION One of the major problems of evolutionary economics is its diﬃcult and unclariﬁed relationship to public policy questions.1 Often the problem arises that evolutionary reasonings can be used rather well for a sound critique of a wide range of policy recommendations. But due to the evolutionary argument of the openness of economic processes and the resulting Hayekian knowledge problem it seems often very diﬃcult to derive positive policy proposals from evolutionary reasonings – leading to the danger of a general retreat from policy discussions. In this chapter it is suggested that evolutionary economics should take a pragmatic approach to economic policy questions: 1. Evolutionary economics should be pragmatic in a methodological sense, i.e. that in an ever-changing world economic policy can and has to be made despite the impossibility of eliminating all uncertainties in regard to its eﬀects. Evolutionary economics should not restrict itself to theoretical and basic research but should also do research about the application of evolutionary reasonings to the solving of real-world problems including participation in policy discussions. For applying evolutionary arguments to policy questions we have to ﬁnd a pragmatic way to combine evolutionary with neoclassical arguments, which to a certain degree will remain indispensable for many real-world problems. 2. 3. Instead of discussing these demands on evolutionary economics on a methodological or theoretical level, I would like to show in regard to a...
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