Journal of Economics

, Volume 123, Issue 1, pp 89–91 | Cite as

Wilson, David S. and Alan Kirman (eds): Complexity and evolution: toward a new synthesis for economics

MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2016, XI, 395 pp, Cloth, £41.95
  • Gian Italo Bischi
Book Review

During the last decades, economic modelling has been witnessing a paradigm shift in methodology, and the recent economic and financial crisis has strengthened this trend. In fact, despite its notable achievements, the standard approach based on the paradigm of the rational and representative agent (with unlimited computational ability and perfect information), fails to explain many important features of economic systems, and has been criticized on a number of grounds (see e.g. Simon 1984; Kirman 1992, 1993).

At the same time, a growing interest has emerged in alternative approaches which allow for factors such as bounded rationality and heterogeneity of agents, social interaction and learning in the presence of multiple and interacting individuals who operate on various spatial and temporal scales. Furthermore their behaviour is governed by adaptive evolutionary processes based on simple “rules of thumb” (or “heuristics”) and “trial and error” mechanisms, that may give rise to...


  1. Arthur WB, Durlauf SN, Lane DA (eds) (1997) The economy as an evolving complex system II. In: Proceedings volume XXVII, Santa Fe Institute Studies in the science of complexity. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MAGoogle Scholar
  2. Camerer C (2010) Behavioral game theory. New Age International, HyderabadGoogle Scholar
  3. Kahneman D, Tversky Amos (1979) Prospect theory: an analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica 47:263–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kirman AP (1992) Whom or what does the representative individual represent? J Econ Perspect 6(2):117–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kirman A (1993) Ants, rationality, and recruitment. Q J Econ 108:137–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kirman AP (2010) Complex economics: individual and collective rationality. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Nelson RR, Winter Sidney G (1982) An evolutionary theory of economic change. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  8. Hommes C (2013) Behavioral rationality and heterogeneous expectations in complex economic systems. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Simon Herbert (1984) Models of bounded rationality, vol 3. MIT Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of UrbinoUrbinoItaly

Personalised recommendations