Are Instincts Hardened Routines? A Radical Proposal
Routines and instincts are similar in terms of function and structure: 1) With respect to function, they economize on scarce decision-making resources, such as cognitive faculties, by making actions, within limits, inflexible vis-à-vis fluctuating environmental stimuli. As inflexible patterns, they are units that can be transferred via inheritance or social learning. 2) With respect to structure, routines are simply the detailing of the more abstract underpinning instincts. If so, the similarity of routines and instincts amount to homology rather than simple analogy. So, instincts and routines are constituents of the same phenomenon. This behooves to have a single theory that explains their formation. But the literature largely lacks such a theory. Pointedly, natural selection theory, which can explain instincts, cannot explain routines because they arise during ontogeny. This paper proposes a solution, a radical one: the rational choice approach. The radical proposal can, first, show that routines arise on the basis of rational choice. If routines are ultimately hardened instincts, the proposal can, second, show that instincts arise also on the basis of rational choice. While this solution invites Lamarckism, it offers a single and simple account of routines and instincts—as account that meets Ockham’s razor.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Web: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/research/papers/ Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1990. "The Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-25, April.
- Markus C. Becker & Nathalie Lazaric & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 2005.
"Applying organizational routines in understanding organizational change,"
Industrial and Corporate Change,
Oxford University Press, vol. 14(5), pages 775-791, October.
- Markus Becker & Nathalie Lazaric & Richard Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 2005. "Applying Organizational Routines in understanding organizational change," Post-Print hal-00457068, HAL.
- Haig, David, 2011. "Sympathy with Adam Smith and reflexions on self," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 4-13, January.
- Khalil, Elias L., 1989. "Adam Smith and Albert Einstein: The Aesthetic Principle of Truth," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 222-237, September.
- Marciano, Alain & Khalil, Elias L., 2012.
"Optimization, path dependence and the law: Can judges promote efficiency?,"
International Review of Law and Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 72-82.
- Marciano, Alain & Khalil, Elias L., 2012. "Optimization, Path Dependence and the Law: Can Judges Promote Efficiency?," IEL Working Papers 9, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
- Khalil, Elias L., 2010. "The Bayesian fallacy: Distinguishing internal motivations and religious beliefs from other beliefs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 268-280, August.
- David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
- Elias Khalil, 2009. "Natural selection and rational decision: two concepts of optimization," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 417-435, June.
- Birendra K. Rai & Chiu Ki So & Aaron Nicholas, 2012. "A Primer On Mathematical Modelling In Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 594-615, 09.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2012-25. 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: (Simon Angus)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.