This chapter examines the usefulness of an evolutionary perspective. It is useful, in some respects, but experiences many pitfalls when applied in socio-economic contexts. There, institutions form at least part of the selection environment. However, they not only select but also enable and constitute behaviour, and they are themselves shaped by the behaviour that they select. Furthermore, by focusing on population effects, evolutionary theory tends to neglect adaptation and innovation by learning. This is especially serious since the generation of novelty is embedded in the selection process. It is argued that the biological metaphor of evolution may have reached the point of being more misleading than useful.
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