Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 111–135 | Cite as

On evolutionary technological change and economic growth: Lakatos as a starting point for appraisal

Regular Article


This paper proposes a discussion on evolutionary technological change and economic growth theory, using the Lakatosian Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes as an appraisal criterion. Since the persistence of some inflexibility in this approach made it difficult to capture fundamental features of the scientific undertaking at hand, an alternative hypothesis was explored, that developed by Hoover (Scientific research program or tribe? A joint appraisal of Lakatos and the new classical macroeconomics. In: de Marchi N, Blaug M (eds) Appraising economic theories: studies in the methodology of research programmes. Edward Elgar, Aldershot, 1991). This latter framework is used here not as a formal methodology but rather as a language to find patterns in these theories. This exercise evolved then towards a number of considerations on the confrontation between these evolutionary theories particularly in terms of that which can be seen (in a loose sense) as their “rival research programme”, the new neoclassical growth models.


Evolutionary Economic growth Technological change Lakatos Kuhn Research programme 

JEL Classification

B520 B400 O300 O400 



This paper was developed during the course on History of Economic Thought, included in the doctoral programme in Economics offered by the Faculty of Economics of Porto. I am grateful to Professor Roger Backhouse who motivated this work. In addition, the author wishes to thank the editor Elias Dinopoulos and two anonymous referees for stimulating comments and constructive criticisms on earlier versions. Special thanks are due to my dear friend and colleague Aurora Teixeira, for all the support and enlightening.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculdade de Economia do PortoCEMPREPortoPortugal

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