On the role of intentionality in evolutionary economic change

Structural Change and Economic Dynamics

One important challenge to evolutionary economics consists of tackling the paradoxical relationship between purposeful human action and the ?blindness? of evolutionary processes. We argue that the theoretical treatment of intended action is a prerequisite for

venturing beyond the phenomenological explanation of evolutionary processes. If so, evolutionary processes are not (at least completely) ?blind?. Of course, not every change in a society is a consequence of purposeful action. However, even if not every action were intended and not every novelty were the consequence of pursuing particular goals, the evolution of individual intentions and pursued goals (micro-level) is a key process in explaining economic change. In this context, an evolutionary efficiency criterion is proposed.