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Evolution and Institutions

On Evolutionary Economics and the Evolution of Economics Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Institute for International Management, Loughborough University London, UK
Geoff Hodgson’s innovative and important new book is about the future of economics as a viable discipline. It examines not only evolutionary economics but the development of economic theory during the twentieth century. The book reflects on the origins and consequences of the narrowing and increasing irrelevance of mainstream economics, suggesting that it will be inadequate to cope with the complex ideas of the new millennium.
Extent: 360 pp
Hardback Price: $164.00 Web: $147.60
Publication Date: 1999
ISBN: 978 1 85898 813 9
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $47.00 Web: $37.60
Publication Date: 2000
ISBN: 978 1 85898 824 5
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Evolutionary Economics
  • Institutional Economics
Geoff Hodgson’s innovative and important new book is about the future of economics as a viable discipline. It examines not only evolutionary economics but the development of economic theory during the twentieth century. The book reflects on the origins and consequences of the narrowing and increasing irrelevance of mainstream economics, suggesting that it will be inadequate to cope with the complex ideas of the new millennium.

Geoff Hodgson analyses some of the attempts to redirect theoretical economics to real world issues. He proposes a move away from mathematical formalization, greater tolerance given to different approaches and the possibility of learning from other sciences especially biology. He suggests that the toleration of a plurality of theoretical approaches in economics – including institutional and evolutionary approaches – based on a common orientation towards real world economies is the best overall strategy for future theoretical advance.

A unique and important contribution to our understanding, it will be welcomed by academics and researchers working in all fields of economics, especially evolutionary economics as well as by other social scientists.
‘This is an important collection of essays around the general theme of evolutionary economics, and the evolution of economics as a discipline. . . the book quite convincingly demonstrates that a thorough grounding in both the history of economic thought and economic history more generally is central to a clear understanding of where economics has been and where it is going. . . The book would be useful reading for professional economists, graduate students and advanced undergraduates. One can imagine the book used in a multitude of courses, in particular if individual chapters are assigned.’
– John E. Peters, South African Journal of International Affairs

‘. . . an excellent volume that deserves a place on every economist’s bookshelf. Hodgson deserves praise for tidying up some loose theoretical ends and for directing our attention to some neglected contributions to economic thought. Heterodox economists will find much to interest them here, of course, but mainstream economists would be well advised to have a look at this book; there is much intellectual nourishment to be had from it.’
– Stephen P. Dunn, Review of Political Economy

‘It is a valuable addition to recent institutional economics. Perhaps what sets Hodgson’s work apart is that while he is very aware of a large and diverse historical literature that deals with institutional and evolutionary economics, and looks to it explicitly for inspiration and suggestion, he is not bound to any particular authority other than his own critical capacity. . . . Hodgson’s openness to ideas is itself one of the most important contributions to this thought provoking book.’
– Malcolm Rutherford, Journal of Economic Issues

‘Hodgson writes in an interesting and lively way . . . This work will appeal to those familiar with evolutionary economics.’
– S.R.H. Jones, Business History

‘A brilliant, readable exploration of some lost themes in economics.’
– Deirdre McCloskey, University of Iowa, US

‘Hodgson has remarkable skill in using the history of economic thought to illuminate the limitations of contemporary economic thinking. The essays in this new book do that superbly. The book is invaluable reading, both for economists who suspect there is something limited about most modern economic writing, and for those who might want to think about that possibility.’
– Richard R. Nelson, Columbia University, US
Contents: Preface and Acknowledgements Part I: Rival Paradigms in Economics 1. Introduction: The Century of Lost Opportunity 2. False Antagonisms and Doomed Reconciliations 3. A Case Study: The Fate of the Cambridge Capital Controversy 4. Metaphor and Pluralism in Economics Part II: The Evolution of Evolutionary Economics 5. Biological Metaphors in Economics from the 1880s to the 1980s 6. Meanings of Evolutionary Economics Part III: The Contributions of Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter 7. Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter 8. Optimization and Evolution: Winter’s Critique of Friedman Revisited Part IV: Evolutionary Theories of the Firm 9. Transaction Costs and the Evolution of the Firm 10. The Coasean Tangle: The Nature of the Firm and the Problem of Historical Specificity 11. Evolutionary and Competence-Based Theories of the Firm References Index