Ulrich Witt and Andreas Chai

Understanding Economic Change

Advances in Evolutionary Economics

Cambridge University Press 2018

New Books in EconomicsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network October 1, 2018 Andrea Bernardi

We met with Prof. Ulrich Witt to discuss his recent book (co-edited with Andreas Chai), Understanding Economic Change, Advances in Evolutionary Economics (Cambridge University Press, 2018). This...

We met with Prof. Ulrich Witt to discuss his recent book (co-edited with Andreas Chai), Understanding Economic Change, Advances in Evolutionary Economics (Cambridge University Press, 2018). This collection of essays is divided into five parts: Part I (Introduction), Part II (Conceptual and Methodological Problems), Part III (Perspectives on Evolutionary Macroeconomics), Part IV (Advances in Explaining and Assessing Institutional Evolution), Part V (Evolutionary Perspectives on Welfare and Sustainability).

Ulrich Witt, from the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany, is a leading figure in the evolutionary approach to economics. He contributed to define the conceptual basis of this approach and he applied it in several fields of economics, focusing on the historical transformations and the endogenous changes.

Geoffrey M. Hodgson (University of Hertfordshire, UK) commented that: ‘As Ulrich Witt and Andreas Chai put it in their introduction, it is time for some stocktaking concerning progress in evolutionary economics. This excellent collection of essays performs that task admirably: a number of leading authors review developments in the field with erudition and careful criticism. This is a milestone volume.’

Viktor J. Vanberg (University of Freiburg, Germany) contextualizes historically his comment: ‘More than one century after Thorsten Veblen coined the label evolutionary economics there is still no consensus on what constitutes the core of an evolutionary approach in economics. This volume will be welcome by readers interested in learning about the current state of the field and its prospective development. The essays collected represent the principal versions of evolutionary thinking in contemporary economics, covering methodological, theoretical and normative issues. The editors’ Introduction provides helpful guidance in tracing the history of the field, placing the collected essays into a broader context and pointing to prospects for theoretical convergence and integration.’

This is definitely an important book, ‘a milestone volume’, for scholars either from within or outside the evolutionary approach.


Andrea Bernardi is Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He holds a doctorate in Organization Theory from the University of Milan, Bicocca. He has held teaching and research positions in Italy, China and the UK. Among his research interests are the use of history in management studies, the co-operative sector, and Chinese co-operatives. His latest project is looking at health care in rural China. He is the co-convener of the EAEPE’s permanent track on Critical Management Studies.

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