Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

A new formal approach to evolutionary processes in socioeconomic systems

  • Rodrick Wallace
Regular Article


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.


Cognition Coevolution Competition Information theory Interaction Punctuated equilibrium Selection 

JEL Classification

B52 C61 D02 L10 P50 Z10 



The author thanks a reviewer for remarks useful in revision.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of EpidemiologyThe New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA

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