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Hayek Reads the Literature on the Emergence of Norms

  • Luciano Andreozzi

Hayek's approach to cultural and institutional evolution has been frequently criticized because it is explicitly based on the controversial notion of (cultural) group selection. In this paper this criticism is rejected on the basis of recent works on biological and cultural evolution. The paper's main contention is that Hayek employed group selection as a tool for the explanation of selection among several equilibria, and not as a vehicle for the emergence of out of equilibrium behavior (i.e. altruism). The paper shows that Hayek's ideas foreshadowed some of the most promising developments in the current literature on the emergence of norms.

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Paper provided by Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2005-03.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2005-03
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Web page: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb19/Email:


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  1. José Canals & Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1998. "Multi-level evolution in population games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 21-35.
  2. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
  3. Oechssler, Jorg, 1997. "Decentralization and the coordination problem," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 119-135, January.
  4. repec:att:wimass:9323 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Fernando Vega Redondo & Ventakamaran Bhaskar, 1996. "Migration and the evolution of conventions," Working Papers. Serie AD 1996-23, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  6. Hodgson, Geoffrey M., 1991. "Hayek's Theory of Cultural Evolution: An Evaluation in the Light of Vanberg's Critique," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(01), pages 67-82, April.
  7. Sethi, Rajiv & Somanathan, E, 1996. "The Evolution of Social Norms in Common Property Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 766-88, September.
  8. Dieckmann, Tone, 1999. "The evolution of conventions with mobile players," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 93-111, January.
  9. repec:att:wimass:9325 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
  11. Daniel Friedman, 1998. "On economic applications of evolutionary game theory," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 15-43.
  12. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, June.
  13. Douglas Whitman, 1998. "Hayek contra Pangloss on Evolutionary Systems," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 45-66, March.
  14. Vanberg, Viktor, 1986. "Spontaneous Market Order and Social Rules," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(01), pages 75-100, April.
  15. De Vlieghere, Martin, 1994. "A Reappraisal of Friedrich A. Hayek's Cultural Evolutionism," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 285-304, October.
  16. Andy Denis, 2002. "Was Hayek a Panglossian Evolutionary Theorist? A Reply to Whitman," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 275-285, September.
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