Economists on Darwin's theory of social evolution and human behaviour
The purpose of this article is to analyse the way economists interested in social and economic evolution cite, mention or refer to Darwin. We focus on the attitude of economists towards Darwin's theory of social evolution â€“ an issue he considered as central to his theory. We show that economists refer to and mention Darwin as a biologist and neglect or ignore his theory of social and cultural evolution. Three types of reference are identified: first, economists view and quote Darwin as having borrowed concepts from classical political economists, Malthus and Smith. Darwin is then mentioned to emphasize the existence of economic theories of social evolution. Second, economists refer to and cite Darwin from the perspective of the use of biological concepts in social sciences. Darwin's biological theories are then equated with those of Spencer. From these two perspectives, Darwin's theory of social evolution is ignored and Darwin considered as a biologist exclusively. Third, economists acknowledge the existence of Darwin's general (biological and social) theory of evolution. Darwin is then considered and quoted as a biologist and a social evolutionist.
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- Hirshleifer, Jack, 1985. "The Expanding Domain of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(6), pages 53-68, December.
- Armen A. Alchian, 1950. "Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 211-211.
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- Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 1999. "Evolution and Institutions," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1481.
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"The new institutional economics,"
Chapters,in: Institutions, Contracts and Organizations, chapter 1
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- Coase, Ronald, 1998. "The New Institutional Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 72-74, May.
- Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
- Jack Hirshleifer, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," UCLA Economics Working Papers 087, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Marciano, A. & Pelissier, M., 1999. "La theorie de l'evolution culturelle de Hayek a la lumiere de La Descendance de l'homme de Darwin," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 99c08, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
- Van R. Potter, 1962. "Bridge to the Future: The Concept of Human Progress," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-8.
- Tullock, Gordon, 1977. "Economics and Sociobiology: A Comment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 502-506, June.
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- Marciano, Alain & Pelissier, Maud, 2000. "The Influence of Scottish Enlightenment on Darwin's Theory of Cultural Evolution," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 239-249, June.
- Caldwell, Bruce, 2001. "Hodgson on Hayek: A Critique," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(4), pages 539-553, July.
- Robert C. Bannister, Jr., 1973. "William Graham Sumner's Social Darwinism: A Reconsideration," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 89-109, Spring.
- Caldwell, Bruce, 2000. "The Emergence of Hayek's Ideas on Cultural Evolution," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 13(1), pages 5-22, February. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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