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Economic Behavior - Evolutionary vs. Behavioral Perspectives

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  • Ulrich Witt

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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.

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File URL: ftp://papers.econ.mpg.de/evo/discussionpapers/2010-17.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2010-17.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2010-17

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Keywords: behavioral economics; evolutionary economics; Darwinism; decision heuristics; preferences; development; growth; welfare Length 21 pages;

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Cited by:
  1. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Pursuing Happiness," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-01, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  2. Foster, John & Metcalfe, J. Stan, 2012. "Economic emergence: An evolutionary economic perspective," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 420-432.
  3. Leonhard K. Lades, 2012. "Impulsive Consumption and Reflexive Thought: Nudging Ethical Consumer Behavior," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-03, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  4. Leonhard K. Lades, 2011. "Towards an Incentive Salience Model of Intertemporal Choice," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-18, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  5. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Opportunity and Preference Learning," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-08, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.

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