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Economic Behavior - Evolutionary vs. Behavioral Perspectives

Ulrich Witt

Papers on Economics and Evolution from Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography

Abstract: An evolutionary perspective on economic behavior has to account for the influences that the human genetic endowment has on the choices the agents make. Likely to have been fixed in times of fierce selection pressure, this endowment is presumably adapted to the living conditions of early humans. If at all, behavioral economics accounts for its influences on economic decision making in a way similar to the approach taken by evolutionary psychology, i.e. by focusing on decision heuristics and their tensions with modern rationality standards. In an evolutionary perspective, that focus needs to be extended so as to also embrace the motivational underpinnings of economic behavior. In the language of economics this means to inquire into the agents' preferences and to explain how they relate to the human genetic endowment and how they change over time. The paper discusses several implications of such an extension.

Keywords: behavioral economics; evolutionary economics; Darwinism; decision heuristics; preferences; development; growth; welfare Length 21 pages (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A12 B25 B52 D01 D03 D63 O10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-hpe, nep-neu and nep-pke
References: View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed

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