Eric Beinhocker

Paper #: 10-12-037

During the past few decades, work by evolutionary theorists and others on evolution as a form of computation has yielded important insights in fields ranging from biology, to computer science, information theory, and physics. Yet this research stream has had relatively little impact on evolutionary views of the economy and institutions. This paper argues that this literature offers the potential for advances in the theory and ontology of evolutionary and institutional economics. The paper explores how the computational concept of algorithmic search through a “design space” may help unify notions of technological, institutional, and economic evolution and explain processes of order and complexity creation in the economy. It further shows how computational concepts may strengthen ontological foundations by integrating generalized Darwinism and the continuity hypothesis. Finally, the article suggests avenues for future research.