On some implications of evolutionary psychology for the study of preferences and institutions

Avner Ben-Ner, Louis Putterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

In many economic interactions, for instance in firms, the standard approximation of strict self-interest is inadequate to modeling human behavior. A scientific theory of preferences, grounded in evolutionary psychological and biological theory, can avoid resort to ad hoc assumptions. Evolutionary theory is supported by a growing body of data including new results in experimental economics. It holds that the evolved human nature includes an ability to solve social dilemma problems through reciprocity and punishment of cheaters. Treating realized preferences as phenotypic expressions with both environmental and genetic causes will also allow economists to study the impact of institutions on preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2000

Keywords

  • Altruism
  • C72
  • C91
  • D00
  • Evolution
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Preferences
  • Reciprocity

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