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Knowledge as a Path-Dependence Process

  • Economics


By following a new approach proposed by Cognitive and Neuroeconomics, this paper presents and extends that part of Hayek’s theory concerning knowledge in path-dependent terms, and shows that this is a fertile theory, opening new lines of inquiry for contemporary economics. In his theory of knowledge Hayek shows that the dynamics of economic change is path-dependent, in a different and more profound way than in the rest of the path-dependent literature. This literature deals with an important controversy, which will be also discussed and its specific and original meaning will be highlighted. As it will emerge, knowledge as a path-dependent process is consistent with cognitive theories of perception and learning and it plays a more important role than is traditionally assumed. Path-dependence is in fact always present in the cognitive dimension of perception and in individual decision-making processes, as well as in the processes of organizational innovation, and even in the macro-dimension of institutional change. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

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