CANCELLATION: Armin Schulz: Equilibrium Modeling in Economics: An Evolutionary Defense

This talk has been cancelled. We are working on rescheduling for a later date.

Armin Schulz (University of Kansas)
4:30-6:30pm Wednesday Oct 9; NYU Philosophy Department (5 Washington Place, New York, NY), room 202.

Title: Equilibrium Modeling in Economics: An Evolutionary Defense

Abstract: A traditional evolutionary economic criticism of mainstream economic analysis is that the latter is too strongly focused on equilibrium models and thus fails to do justice to the complex and dynamic nature of real economic systems. I here assess the plausibility of this criticism further. More specifically, I here seek to both determine whether it is true that the heavy reliance on equilibrium models in economics is problematic, and whether and how an appeal to evolutionary biology can prove useful towards answering this question (positively or negatively). To achieve this, I consider the discussion in evolutionary ecology surrounding the extent to which ecosystems can be expected to be stable, and analyze whether, when, and how insights from that discussion can be translated into the economic case. The upshot of this analysis will be the suggestion—countering the traditional evolutionary economic claims—that, in many cases, economic systems will be well analyzable with equilibrium models. In turn, this is due to the fact that, like ecosystems, economic systems plausibly often are “sorted” systems. However, I also show that the ways in which ecosystems and economic systems are sorted systems is very different. For this reason, I further make clear that whatever usefulness the appeal to evolutionary biology has in this context, it is only heuristic in nature. In this way, the present discussion also makes clearer the nature of cross-disciplinary heuristic support more generally.

There will be dinner after the talk. If you are interested, please send an email with “Dinner” in the heading to (please note that all are welcome, but only the speaker’s dinner will be covered.) If you have any other questions, please email

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