IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The economic agent as rule maker and rule user: Homo Sapiens Oeconomicus


  • Kurt Dopfer



The paper discusses the micro foundations of evolutionary economics, introducing a unified concept of the economic agent as a rule maker and rule user. Based on recent findings of the neuronal, cognitive and behavioral sciences, Homo Sapiens Oeconomicus emerges as an alternative to Homo Oeconomicus. A taxonomy of rules distinguishing between cognitive, behavioral and blueprint rules and a set of theoretical propositions related to the structure and evolution of those rules are suggested. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Kurt Dopfer, 2004. "The economic agent as rule maker and rule user: Homo Sapiens Oeconomicus," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 177-195, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:14:y:2004:i:2:p:177-195 DOI: 10.1007/s00191-004-0189-9

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Geoffrey Hodgson & Thorbjørn Knudsen, 2004. "The firm as an interactor: firms as vehicles for habits and routines," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 281-307, July.
    2. Wilfred Amaldoss & Robert J. Meyer & Jagmohan S. Raju & Amnon Rapoport, 2000. "Collaborating to Compete," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(2), pages 105-126, November.
    3. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. & Knudsen, Thorbjorn, 2004. "The complex evolution of a simple traffic convention: the functions and implications of habit," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 19-47, May.
    4. Ulrich Witt, 2004. "On the proper interpretation of 'evolution' in economics and its implications for production theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 125-146.
    5. Sidney G. Winter & Gabriel Szulanski, 2001. "Replication as Strategy," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 12(6), pages 730-743, December.
    6. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2002. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to ontology," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 259-281.
    7. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2001. "Is Social Evolution Lamarckian or Darwinian?," Chapters,in: Darwinism and Evolutionary Economics, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Henrich, Joseph, 2004. "Cultural group selection, coevolutionary processes and large-scale cooperation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 3-35, January.
    9. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2003. "The Mystery of the Routine. The Darwinian Destiny of An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(2), pages 355-384.
    10. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. & Knudsen, Thorbjorn, 2006. "Why we need a generalized Darwinism, and why generalized Darwinism is not enough," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-19, September.
    11. Agarwal, Rajshree & Echambadi, Raj & Franco, April M. & Sarkar, M. B., 2002. "Knowledge Transfer through Congenital Learning: Spin-Out Generation, Growth and Survival," Working Papers 02-0101, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    12. Thorbj, rn Knudsen, 2002. "Economic selection theory," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 443-470.
    13. Sidney G. Winter, 1971. "Satisficing, Selection, and the Innovating Remnant," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(2), pages 237-261.
    14. Thorbjørn Knudsen, 2004. "General selection theory and economic evolution: The Price equation and the replicator/interactor distinction," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 147-173.
    15. Michael D. Cohen & Paul Bacdayan, 1994. "Organizational Routines Are Stored as Procedural Memory: Evidence from a Laboratory Study," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 5(4), pages 554-568, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:14:y:2004:i:2:p:177-195. See general 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.