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Viewpoint: The economics of hunter-gatherer societies and the evolution of human characteristics

  • Arthur Robson
  • Hillard Kaplan

We argue for attention to the evolutionary origins of economic behaviour. Going beyond this, we argue that the economy of hunting and gathering was the context in which evolution shaped human characteristics that underlie modern economic behaviour. We first reconsider the basic biological question of why aging occurs at all. We then illustrate the usefulness of considering foraging economics by asking why it is biologically advantageous for humans to live long after their reproductive career is over. Further, we argue that foraging economics would have led to the simultaneous exaggeration of intelligence and of longevity that is characteristic of humans.

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Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 39 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 375-398

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:39:y:2006:i:2:p:375-398
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