Journal of Bioeconomics

, 10:23

Accounting for economic evolution: Fitness and the population method


DOI: 10.1007/s10818-008-9029-6

Cite this article as:
Metcalfe, J.S. J Bioecon (2008) 10: 23. doi:10.1007/s10818-008-9029-6


The theme of this paper is the general population dynamics of evolutionary processes, and, in particular, a number of accounting concepts that are central to any understanding of evolutionary processes of the variation-cum-selection retention kind. A population perspective, for example, turns out to be crucial to the study of the competitive process in economic systems defined at the level of industries, sectors and markets. Business rivalry, underpinned by differential innovative activity, is the basis of the differential survival and growth of competing economic activities and the strategies deployed to create sustainable differences in competitive selection characteristics are at the core of the capitalist dynamic interpreted as an adaptive, evolutionary process. This kind of evolutionary argument is necessarily concerned with growth rate dynamics and the explanation of the diversity of growth rates across entities in a population. However, the following discussion does not provide any causal explanation of economic evolution in terms of the determinants of growth rate differences, rather it provides a bookkeeping scheme in which different causal theories may be set and compared. Growth dynamics and structural change are the two central features of variation/selection processes within populations and I explore them in terms of three themes: namely, Logistic Growth Accounting; Competition Accounting; and, the Price Theorem. The unifying theme that links all three is their relation to the population method in evolutionary theory.


Economic evolution Economic fitness Fisher-Price accounting 

JEL Classification

C00 L10 O10 O40 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Manchester Institute of Innovation ResearchThe University of ManchesterManchesterEngland, UK

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