Evolutionary economics and the markets-as-networks approach
The paper analyzes the similarities and differences between the markets-as-networks (or IMP) tradition in industrial marketing and evolutionary economics. Five analytical dimensions are used: unit of analysis, methodological practice, core frameworks and models, key assumptions, and theoretical antecedents and origins. Evolutionary ideas have long been incorporated into economic theorizing. This paper concentrates on the new evolutionary economics associated particularly with a research tradition centred on the work of Nelson and Winter [Nelson, R.R., & Winter, S.G. (1982). An evolutionary theory of economic change. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press]. There are several important parallels between this research tradition and the IMP or markets-as-networks tradition. It is proposed that the markets-as-networks tradition could be enriched by seeking explicitly to incorporate elements of an evolutionary process into the dynamics of change within inter-firm relationships and networks. Evolutionary economics would benefit from explicit consideration of the likelihood that interorganizational routines, rather than individual firm-based routines, play an important part in the evolutionary process.