Recently, commentators have applied insights from complexity theory to legal analysis generally and to administrative law in particular. This Article focuses on one of the central problems that complexity. theory addresses, the importance and mechanisms of adaptation within complex systems. In Part I, the Article uses three features of complex adaptive systems-emergence from self-assembly, nonlinearity, and sensitivity to initial conditions-and explores the extent to which they may add value as a matter of positive analysis to the understanding of change within legal systems. In Part H, the Article focuses on three normative claims in public law scholarship that depend explicitly or implicitly on notions of adaptation: that states offer advantages over the federal government because experimentation can make them more adaptive, that federal agencies should themselves become more experimentalist using the tool of adaptive management, and that administrative agencies shou Id adopt collaborative mechanisms in policymaking. Using two analytic tools found in the complexity literature, the genetic algorithm and evolutionary game theory, the Article tests the extent to which these three normative claims are borne out.

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