Adaptation Within Constraints An Evolutionary Approach to Change in Individual and Social Constitutions


"The past three decades have witnessed a revival of interest in the study of institutions by economists outside the disciplinary mainstream. Approaches in, what has become identified as, 'New Institutional Economics' promote an understanding of social institutions as a complex of rules which, because of their reliability, recognizability, and general applicability, serve to reduce uncertainty and promote coordination and cooperation among individuals. The more recent tradition in 'Constitutional Economics' has complemented and broadened this perspective by focusing attention on the constraints circumscribing adaptive change within and among rule complexes of various kinds. This thesis focuses on how such an integration is part of a broad fixed framework that includes a particular theory of knowledge and behavior within an evolutionary perspective. "Our aim then is to show how the Institutional-Constitutional view can rest on a robust understanding of the knowledge and behavior of individuals. In particular, this thesis demonstrates the proffered approach--built upon while at the same time reflecting the structure of arguments in evolutionary, behavioral, and epistemological theories--provides a theoretically compact and integrated explanation that can form a more sound basis for the study of social and economic phenomena."



economic behavior, social behavior, constitution--economics, adaptation, Workshop, institutional economics, rules, knowledge