The Biological Basis of Economic Behavior
AbstractThis paper first considers the implications of biological evolution for economic preferences. It analyzes why utility functions evolved, considers evidence that utility is both hedonic and adaptive, and suggests why such adaptation might have evolved. Time preference and attitudes to risk are treated--in particular, whether the former is exponential and the latter are selfish. Arguments for another form of interdependence--a concern with status--are treated. The paper then considers the evolution of rationality. One hypothesis examined is that human intelligence and longevity were forged by hunter-gatherer economies; another is that intelligence was spurred by competitive social interactions.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.
Volume (Year): 39 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Institutional; Evolutionary
- D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bernheim, B Douglas & Ray, Debraj, 1987. "Economic Growth with Intergenerational Altruism," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 227-41, April.
- Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 1998.
"On the cultural transmission of preferences for social status,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 75-97, October.
- Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1997. "On the Cultural Transmission of Preferences for Social Status," DELTA Working Papers 97-04, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- Jack Hirshleifer, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," UCLA Economics Working Papers 087, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Robert J. Aumann, 1995. "Repeated Games with Incomplete Information," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011476, January.
- Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
- Landsburg, Steven E, 1995. "Aristocratic Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 434-38, April.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- George J. Mailath, .
""Do People Play Nash Equilibrium? Lessons From Evolutionary Game Theory'',"
CARESS Working Papres
98-01, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
- George J. Mailath, 1998. "Do People Play Nash Equilibrium? Lessons from Evolutionary Game Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1347-1374, September.
- G. Constantinides, 1990.
"Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
1397, David K. Levine.
- Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-43, June.
- George J. Mailath, 1998. "Corrigenda [Do People Play Nash Equilibrium? Lessons from Evolutionary Game Theory]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
- Dekel, Eddie & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1999.
"On the Evolution of Attitudes towards Risk in Winner-Take-All Games,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 125-143, July.
- Dekel, E. & Scotchmer, S., 1999. "On the Evolution of Attitudes Towards Risk in Winner-Take-All Games," Papers 4-99, Tel Aviv.
- Rogers, Alan R, 1994. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 460-81, June.
- Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-58, August.
- Ken Binmore, 1994. "Game Theory and the Social Contract, Volume 1: Playing Fair," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262023636, January.
- Theodore C. Bergstrom, .
"On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings,"
ELSE working papers
017, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
- Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1995. "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 58-81, March.
- Ted Bergstrom, . "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," Papers _023, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
- Waldman, Michael, 1994. "Systematic Errors and the Theory of Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 482-97, June.
- Karni, Edi & Schmeidler, David, 1986. "Self-preservation as a foundation of rational behavior under risk," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 71-81, March.
- Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
- Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.