“Is Evolutionary Economics in Crisis?: A Bibliometric Analysis”

Geoffrey Hodgson, University of Hertfordshire

In this paper we employ a bibliometric research methodology on a large database to analyze the structure and evolution of prominent “evolutionary” research in the disciplines of management, economics, and sociology. This research primarily addresses business phenomena, suggesting the possibility of a relatively integrated research community. But our analysis identifies a fragmented field of “evolutionary” study in which disciplinary boundaries and diverse imprinting conditions affect research. The classic work of Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter (1982) is identified as an enduring nodal point in the evolution of the field. But crucially it has not inspired major subsequent development of the core evolutionary theory. Instead it may serve as an historic “concept marker” (Case and Higgins 2000) for a fragmented field of specialist clusters. According to our analysis, the main “evolutionary” constellations include organizational ecology, behavioral theory, the resource-based and capability views of the firm, the evolution of technology, socio-genetic evolution, and evolutionary game theory. Our analysis suggests that future studies in evolutionary research would benefit from a more developed and over-arching meta-theoretical framework or narrative, so that diverse and specialist clusters can communicate more deeply and learn from each other.

About the speaker
Geoffrey M. Hodgson is Research Professor in Business Studies at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. His books include From Pleasure Machines to Moral Communities (2013), Darwin’s Conjecture (with Thorbjoern Knudsen, 2010), The Evolution of Institutional Economics (2004), and How Economics Forgot History (2001). He has published over 130 articles in academic journals and he is Editor in Chief of the Journal of Institutional Economics.

Venue: Conference Room

Date: 14 February 2013

Time: 12:30 - 13:30


UNU-MERIT