IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Between Progressivism and Institutionalism Albert Benedict Wolfe on Eugenics


  • Luca Fiorito



Albeit concerned with the biological element in social evolution, Albert B. Wolfe was among the very few economists of the progressive era who openly expressed his concerns about certain implications of eugenic rhetoric for the social science. Specifically, Wolfe questioned the strong hereditary boundaries that more extreme eugenicists suggested about human beings. As I will attempt to show in paper, a careful examination of Wolfe’s writings reveals that his reaction was rooted in the belief that many of the social problems which eugenicists attributed to hereditary limitations, were actually imputable to the influence that the social, economic, and physical environment exercised on the individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Fiorito, 2012. "Between Progressivism and Institutionalism Albert Benedict Wolfe on Eugenics," Department of Economics University of Siena 644, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:644

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas C. Leonard, 2005. "Mistaking Eugenics for Social Darwinism: Why Eugenics Is Missing from the History of American Economics," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 37(5), pages 200-233, Supplemen.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Eugenics; Institutionalism; Social Evolution; Progressivism; Wolfe; Albert Benedict;

    JEL classification:

    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:usi:wpaper:644. 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: (Fabrizio Becatti). 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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.