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Knowledge and markets


An economy is a coordinated system of distributed knowledge. Economic evolution occurs as knowledge grows and the structure of the system changes. This paper is about the role of markets in this process. Traditionally, the theory of markets has not been a central feature of evolutionary economics. This seems to be due to the orthodox view of markets as information-processing mechanisms for finding equilibria. But in economic evolution markets are actually knowledge-structuring mechanisms. What then is the relation between knowledge, information, markets and mechanisms? I argue that an evolutionary theory of markets, in the manner of Loasby (1999), requires a clear formulation of these relations. I suggest that a conception of knowledge and markets in terms of a graphical theory of complex systems furnishes precisely this.

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Potts, J. Knowledge and markets. J Evol Econ 11, 413–431 (2001).

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  • Key words: Evolution – Knowledge – Markets – Mechanism – Rules
  • JEL classification: B5, D0, P0