The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Path Dependence

  • Steven N. Durlauf
Reference work entry


Path dependence refers to the idea that ‘history matters’, that is, that various types of contingent events may have long-term consequences. This article provides some formalization of the concept and assesses its usefulness in elucidating economic phenomena.


Ergodicity and non-ergodicity in economics Multiple equilibria Multiple steady states Network externalities Path dependence QWERTY keyboard configuration Reflection problem 

JEL Classification

D83 D85 L14 L15 O3 Z13 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven N. Durlauf
    • 1
  1. 1.