Wolfram Elsner

Wolfram Elsner
Universität Bremen | Uni Bremen · Faculty of Business Studies and Economics Department of Economics

Professor of Economics

About

201
Publications
19,234
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,059
Citations
Citations since 2017
46 Research Items
525 Citations
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
Introduction
Collapse Economics; Evolutionary Economics; Institutional Economics; Microeconomics; China.
Additional affiliations
May 1995 - present
Universität Bremen
Position
  • Professor (Full)
May 1995 - September 2016
Universität Bremen
Position
  • University of Bremen, Germany; Faculty of Business Studies and Economics
September 1974 - August 1986
Bielefeld University
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (201)
Preprint
This chapter investigates the relationship between information and innovation in a complexity-economics and namely evolutionary-institutional perspective. Rather than being some trivial change "towards the better," "innovative" change in complex adaptive systems (CAS) may be completely blocked or emerging too slowly or fragile and prone to repeated...
Preprint
We highlight a number of examples of complex thinking from ancient times to the current edge. We refer the earlier complexity perspectives to the cutting-edge understanding of complex adaptive (economic) systems. This illustrates that simplistic (neoclassical) equilibrium thinking is a big exemption rather than the "normal" in HET. Since the 1980s,...
Article
Full-text available
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite cumulating crises, the neoliberal "market" doctrine advances largely uncontestably. In this context, we investigate a regressive institutional change, with an unprecedented increase of ceremonial values and warrant of behavior, or what Veblen had coined, "the triumph of imbecile institutions over life and culture." We draft a theoretical fr...
Article
The aim of the paper is twofold: 1. to examine the identities and differences of the Chinese model of the developmental and entrepreneurial state ‘with Chinese characteristics’ with the general East Asian developmental state model, and 2. to derive some perspectives for the future of the particular Chinese model of the developmental state. The pape...
Article
Full-text available
We study the functioning of informal value transfer systems through the example of Hawala. By complementing the institutional theory with computational experiments that use the first agent-based model of IVTS, we examine the roles of generalized trust and social control for the emergence, stability, and efficiency of Hawala. We show that both trust...
Article
Full-text available
Decline and break-up of institutionalized cooperation, at all levels, has occurred frequently. Some of its concomitants, such as international migration, have become topical in the globalized world. Aspects of the phenomenon have also become known as failing states. However, the focus in most social sciences has been on institutional emergence and...
Book
Teaching economics in a new age of differentiation, diversification, and heterodoxies.
Article
Full-text available
Collapse is considered a breakup of institutions and entire socio-economies. Collapse has accompanied socio-economic history, but seems to have become more topical again in recent decades. We even face the danger of extinction of the human species, due to anthropocenic climate change, not the least based on failure of institutional arrangements. Up...
Article
The aim of the paper is twofold: 1. to examine the identities and differences of the Chinese model of the developmental and entrepreneurial state ‘with Chinese characteristics’ with the general East Asian developmental state model, and 2. to derive some perspectives for the future of the particular Chinese model of the developmental state. The pape...
Preprint
Full-text available
Globalization, De-Globalization, Re-Globalization, Global Value-Added Chains, USA, China, Corona, Covid-19 Pandemic, Diversification, Sustainability, Regionalization
Article
Emergence and growth, or deterioration, of general trust, endogenously depend on socio-economic transformations. This paper attempts to explain a shrinking general trust in China, against the background of its ‘reform-opening up’ phase, by means of repeated prisoners’ dilemma games on networks. We find that the more anonymous large-scale interactio...
Article
Full-text available
Spontaneous emergence of institutionalized cooperation in ubiquitous social dilemmas still is a field of highest relevance in behavioral and organizational economic research. In contrast to the theoretical prediction of defective behavior, manifold forms and degrees of cooperation exist in reality. We explain the emergence of general cooperation, e...
Conference Paper
The UNDP HDR 2019 has called for "a revolution in metrics" to develop new ways to measure emerging forms of inequality. However, we do not only need better measurement, but also deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind inequality. Mainstream economists have long studied inequality, but much of that work focuses on narrowly conceived market mec...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We currently are in one of those rare historical phases, where we can "feel" and "experience" history nearly on a daily basis. Global constellations are changing rapidly and often surprisingly, and no one saw "it" coming, let alone being able to exactly forecast the current changes. A historical "phase transition" of the complex global system, in w...
Chapter
Any queries or remarks that have arisen during the processing of your manuscript are listed below and are highlighted by flags in the proof. (AU indicates author queries; ED indicates editor queries; and TS/TY indicates typesetter queries.) Please check your proof carefully and answer all AU queries. Mark all corrections and query answers at the ap...
Article
The present article models the critical factors for a successful and evolutionarily stable National System of Innovation. We simulate a model, against the background of increasingly complex technologies, in a national process of agents’ interactions with social-dilemma characteristics. In particular, the articleinvestigates the emergence of a trila...
Chapter
Das nicht-komplexe und daher simplistische Modell einer perfekten Marktwirtschaft in einem einzigen determinierten Gleichgewicht ist weitgehend unbrauchbar und forscherisch unergiebig. Es kann endogene Krisen nicht systematisch erfassen, besitzt wenig praktische Verwertungsmöglichkeiten und findet in den verschiedensten Praxisbereichen daher auch k...
Poster
Full-text available
In line with this year's conference theme, the RA [JAES] & RA [M] joint sessions focus on our world of walled economies from an evolutionary-institutionalist and social economics perspective. A debate on "walls" has risen especially since 2015 when millions of people have been displaced due to war and instabilities in their home countries. Some Eur...
Article
Dieser Beitrag stellt die Grundzüge der sog. Originären Institutionellen Ökonomik (OIE), in Abgrenzung zum neoklassischen „Mainstream“ und seiner Neuen Institutionellen Ökonomik (NIE), dar. Neben den Unterschieden zum „Mainstream“ fokussiert der Beitrag auf theoriegeschichtliche Wurzeln dieses auch „Amerikanischer Institutionalismus“ genannten Para...
Article
Full-text available
Mainstream economics and everyday consciousness tend to declare any change an “innovation”. Innovation thus appears as a black box. It seems to lack a criterion to distinguish a counterproductive change – e.g., a dynamic perceived by agents as over-turbulence, or some flawed, misled, and futile “change” under fundamental uncertainty and opacity – f...
Preprint
Mainstream economics and everyday consciousness tend to declare any change an "innovation". Innovation thus appears as a black box. It seems to lack a criterion to distinguish a counterproductive, even destructive change-e.g., a dynamic perceived by agents as over-turbulence, or some flawed, misled, and futile "change" under fundamental uncertainty...
Preprint
Mainstream economics and everyday consciousness tend to declare any change an "innovation". Innovation thus appears as a black box. It seems to lack a criterion to distinguish a counterproductive change-e.g., a dynamic perceived by agents as over-turbulence, or some flawed, misled, and futile "change" under fundamental uncertainty and opacity-from...
Article
Full-text available
(no abstract)
Article
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
This article illustrates the usefulness of computational methods for the investigation of institutions. As an example, we use a computational agent-based model to study the role of general trust and social control in informal value transfer systems (IVTS). We find that the terms of interaction between general trust and social control have an impact...
Article
Complexity economics has quickly become a powerful research program for real-world economics in recent years. This article provides an overview of complexity economics, and argues that it is incompatible with the “equilibrium” and “optimality” conceptions of the mainstream and its “market economy.” Instead, it develops older heterodox — including e...
Article
Full-text available
The Theory of Institutional Change as elaborated by Paul D. Bush (1983, 1987) in the tradition of Thorstein Veblen, Clarence Ayres, and John F. Foster (“VAFB paradigm”) provided a central device for institutional analysis, both theoretical and empirical, with its clarification of the value bases and of different forms and dynamics of behaviors and...
Preprint
Full-text available
We study the functioning of informal value transfer systems (IVTS) through the example of Hawala. More precisely, using computational experiments we examine the roles of generalized trust and social control for the emergence, stability and efficiency of Hawala. Previous literature was ambiguous with regard to: (i) how trust and control should be op...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper attempts to explain the considerably declining level of general trust in China in recent years. It finds that the increases of average both interaction scope and spatial distance of interactions in the course of the major socioeconomic transformations in China may explain that decline of trust and of resulting cooperation levels. This, i...
Chapter
Full-text available
Complexity economics has developed into a powerful empirical, theoretical, and computational research program in the last three decades, advancing more realistic economics. It converges with long-standing heterodox schools, and its theoretical and empirical findings are consistent with older heterodox research interests and predictions. Economic co...
Article
We explain archaeological evidence of Sogdian merchants in central Asia in early medieval, remote long-distance trade on the emerging Silk Road. In fact, it began as barter, but was based on the social organization that Sogdians developed in their communities when migrating east. Their particular way of generating trust and institutionalized cooper...
Working Paper
Full-text available
Chapter
Full-text available
(abstract available in german only)
Chapter
Full-text available
We argue that economics must, and can, be taught in fundamentally different ways than the simplistic and ideology-laden " economics of x ". We illustrate this with a fundamentally new textbook, " Microeconomics of Complex Economies " (2015). The mainstream's ambivalence between some relevant research and its simplistic teaching in terms of " optimu...
Research
Full-text available
review article of three leading microeconomic textbooks (Varian, Pindyck/Rubinfeld, Schumann/Meyer/Stroebele).
Article
The increasing complexity of the environment of firms seems to have outgrown the traditional Coase-Williamson transaction-cost framework with its market-hierarchy dichotomy. We propose to integrate an institutional dimension to enhance the theory of the firm and the analysis of real-world organisational forms. This institutional dimension is concep...
Chapter
For a short overview over the history of simulation, see Goldman et al. (2009).
Chapter
This chapter explains the relevance and value of dealing in systematic ways with the history of economic thought (HET) in order to improve the explanatory power and problem-solving capacity of contemporary and future economic science. The chapter demonstrates the complexity dimension that always was virulent in the HET, starting from the beginnings...
Chapter
The chapter gives an overview over recent advances and influential models in evolutionary, institutional, and complexity economics. Some earlier models built on game-theory foundations are presented, starting with A. Sen’s isolation paradox and assurance game, followed by A. Schotter’s, R. Axelrod’s, and K. Lindgren’s approaches to institutional em...
Chapter
Attributed to Jean-Paul Sartre.
Chapter
This chapter addresses the question how the different methods presented in the preceding chapters, such as simulation, complexity, game theory, and evolutionary game theory relate together. Formal definitions of complexity and emergence are introduced alongside with a short overview over the history of these concepts. A number of related terms incl...
Chapter
In this chapter, we introduce a number of complementary applied concepts focusing on environments for a successful innovation performance. These concepts share a view on the firm as embedded in network structures and on innovation as the outcome of processes that are open-ended, ongoing, and path dependent, or subject to feedback loops and circular...
Chapter
Aaron Swartz’s A Programmable Web: An Unfinished Work (2013/2009), Morgan & Claypool, p. 28.
Chapter
Note that the canonical hawk-dove game awards the agents negative payoffs in the hawk-hawk strategy combination (the lower right field). However, adding the same base payoff to the payoffs of all agents in any possible outcome (strategy combination) does not change the structure and properties of the game. Here, we use this and add a base payoff eq...
Chapter
Against the background of the earlier real-world economies chapter (Chapter 4), with its coordination and dilemma problems involved in the value-added chains and in the choice of network technologies, this chapter further explains the basic tendency of nonregulated markets toward an oligopolistic market structure and a subsequent basic indeterminac...
Chapter
Then President of the American Economic Association, Presidential Address: “Rigor and Relevance in a Changing Institutional Setting,” The American Economic Review, 66.1 (1976), pp. 1–14, p. 11.
Chapter
Claudius Gräbner has contributed some sections to this chapter.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Complexity economics has developed into a promising cutting-edge research program for a more realistic economics in the last three or four decades. Also some convergent micro-and macro-foundations across heterodox schools have been attained with it. With some time lag, boosted by the financial crisis 2008ff., a surge to explore economic complexity'...
Research
Full-text available
The increasing complexity of the environment of firms, of strategic interaction, and emergent informal institutional network cooperation, seems to outreach the traditional Coase-Williamson transaction-cost framework with its market-hierarchy dichotomy. We propose to take the complexity of nowadays’ firm ecologies more serious and integrate an insti...
Article
Full-text available
We identify and elaborate some critical factors and mechanisms that foster the emergence of cooperative behavioral patterns. Through institutionalization, which solves social dilemmas through habituation, these factors and mechanisms provide the foundation of contingent cooperation and contextual trust in specific interaction ‘arenas’ and ‘meso’-si...
Chapter
This chapter presents the core of neoclassical economic theory, the polypolistic competition model. The calculation of optimal consumer decisions is explained, as is the optimal calculation for companies. Partial market equilibrium and general equilibrium conditions are shown. The conditions for the general equilibrium to exist as a unique and stab...
Chapter
Der Beitrag untersucht wichtige theoretische und methodologische Elemente, die in Abgrenzung zum neoklassischen „Mainstream“ der Ökonomik konstitutiv sind für eine moderne Sozioökonomie. Dabei wird die Ökonomik zunächst als praktisch einzige moderne Wissenschaft beschrieben, die dauerhaft paradigmatisch gespalten und umkämpft ist zwischen einem Mai...
Book
Full-text available
Nicht nur die anhaltenden wirtschaftlichen Krisen verschaffen der traditionsreichen Sozioökonomie neue Aufmerksamkeit. Als integratives, meta-disziplinäres Paradigma verspricht sie ein besseres Verständnis wirtschaftlicher Phänomene und Zusammenhänge als monodisziplinäre Zugänge. Das Buch bietet erstmals einen Überblick über den aktuellen Stand der...
Article
Full-text available
Classical economists from Adam Smith to Thomas Malthus and to Karl Marx have considered the importance of direct interdependence and direct interactions for the economy. This was even more the case for original institutionalist thinkers such as Thorstein Veblen, John Commons, and Clarence Ayres. In their writings, direct interdependence, interactio...
Article
Full-text available
This paper discusses theoretical and methodological elements that constitute social economics. It also considers those elements for evolutionary (Veblenian) institutional economics. It investigates how these “heterodoxies” may further converge. Such convergence would probably not trigger a complete unification, but lead to a broadly defined common...
Article
The Microeconomics of Complex Economies uses game theory, modeling approaches, formal techniques, and computer simulations to teach useful, accessible approaches to real modern economies. It covers topics of information and innovation, including national and regional systems of innovation; clustered and networked firms; and open-source/open-innovat...
Article
Full-text available
While trust and group size in socio-economic processes have been well investigated separately, approaches to synergize them have been rare. After addressing basic conditions for institutionalized cooperation, the agency capability of preferential mixing is introduced in order to determine the carrier group of an institution of cooperation. That pla...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the crisis and some implications against the Marxian profit rate (PR). The PR helps explaining a number of phenomena often considered disparate. The focus is on integrating exploded fictitious capital in the PR and to estimate a corrected PR. We estimate global fictitious capital and calculate a conventional and a corrected PR f...
Article
Full-text available
This keynote reflects on the phased-out original neoclassical research program and the dominance of originally heterodox issues and questions, all beyond the ‘optimality and equilibrium of the market economy’, in modern cutting-edge economic research. This provides opportunities for heterodoxies and a number of severe internal consistency problems...
Article
Full-text available
The Theory of Institutional Change as elaborated by P.D. Bush in the tradition of Veblen, Ayres and J.F. Foster provided an important device for analysis, with its clarification of the value bases and of forms and dynamics of value-behavior patterns. Bush pushed institutionalism to a certain limit. Coming from different "galaxies," formal approache...
Article
Full-text available
We develop a formal approach to the emergence of institutionalized trust in the context of the evolution of cooperation, with a particular focus on the relevance of the size dimension of this process. While trust in general has been widely investigated, as has the size dimension of structural emergence, both have rarely been analyzed together in an...
Chapter
Full-text available
Until recently the “meso” level, located somehow between the “micro” and “macro” layers, has been neglected as a theoretical level in economic theory. There has been a long tradition of institutional economics though, which implicitly operates at this level, focusing on informal institutions that emerge as “aggregate” structures from direct interde...
Article
Full-text available
First paragraph Evolutionary-institutional economics is more than 110 years old. It started with Thorstein B. Veblen's fundamental criticism, put forward in a bulk of papers and books from the 1880s on, of the then just-established ›neo-classical‹ economic mainstream. Veblen had worked empirically, and established on theoretical, methodological, an...
Article
Full-text available
We study an evolutionary model of a public good game with rewards played on a network. Giving rewards to contributors transforms the game but gives rise to a second-order dilemma. By allowing for coevolution of strategies and network structure the adaptive dynamics operate on both structure and strategy. Players learn with whom to interact and how...
Article
Full-text available
‘Summing-up’ aggregation of micro decisions contrasts with structural emergence in complex systems and evolutionary processes. This paper deals with institutional emergence in the ‘evolution of cooperation’ framework and focuses on its size dimension. It is argued that some ‘meso’ (rather than ‘macro’) level is the proper level of cultural emergenc...
Article
First paragraph Evaluating economic research today is a most contested field. This applies, most notably, since individual careers of a whole generation of critical young economists are affected. And it applies in economics, perhaps more than in any other discipline, since it is the most important academic discipline for the ideological legitimizat...
Article
Full-text available
This article discusses two approaches to the identification and measurement of regional clusters and its networks in 'cross-sectoral' services which are not available through official industrial statistics. The first approach is a 'secondary-statistical' one consisting of a firm-based blending of two separate official statistical data-sets, industr...
Article
This paper deals with institutional emergence in the well-known 'evolution of cooperation' framework and focuses on its size dimension. It is argued that some 'meso' (rather than 'macro') level (to be numerically determined) is the proper level of cultural emergence, diffusion, and retention. Also Schumpeterian economists (K. Dopfer et al.) have di...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
After four decades of rapid catching-up growth and development China is now forced to base its further economic development on its own innovative capabilities. In order to probe into Chinese approach to establishing an innovation-driven economy and gain new insights into the Chinese puzzle, this edited volume brings together a group of prominent scholars from Europe and China. They explore the institutional dynamics of China’s emerging innovation economy: the rise of new institutional regimes, their friction with existing (old) ordering structures and the differential capacity of institutional arrangements to facilitate, accommodate and regulate innovative behavior in various sectors and governance environments.
Project
This project takes a previously finished simulation project on global macroeconomic financial networks to a new and more general level. It starts with a series of policy papers. Here is the description of the previous simulation project: We developed an agent-based simulation of European banks and macroeconomic entities. Six major countries are modelled in detail - including a module for technical progress - as well as the ECB and the EU level. The goal is to understand Europe's development and provide consulting for further, civilized European welfare increase.