, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 1-15
Date: 16 Jul 2011

A new formal approach to evolutionary processes in socioeconomic systems

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Generalized Darwinian evolutionary theory has emerged as central to the description of economic process (e.g., Aldrich et al., J Evol Econ 18:577–596, 2008). Just as Darwinian principles provide necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for understanding the dynamics of social entities, so too the asymptotic limit theorems of information theory instantiate another set of necessary conditions that constrain socioeconomic evolution. These restrictions can be formulated as a statistics-like analytic toolbox for the study of empirical data that is consistent with generalized Darwinism, but escapes the intellectual straightjacket of replicator dynamics. The formalism is a coevolutionary theory in which punctuated convergence to temporary quasi-equilibira is inherently nonequilibrium, involving highly dynamic ‘languages’ rather than system stable points.