Beyond foraging: behavioral science and the future of institutional economics

ALEXANDER J. FIELD
2007 Journal of Institutional Economics  
Institutions affect economic outcomes, but variation in them cannot be directly linked to environmental factors such as geography, climate, or technological availabilities. Game theoretic approaches, based as they typically are on foraging only assumptions, don't provide an adequate foundation for understanding the intervening role of politics and ideology. Nor does the view that culture and institutions are entirely socially constructed. Understanding what institutions are and how they
more » ... e behavior requires an approach that is in part biological, focusing on cognitive and behavioral adaptations for social interaction favored in the past by group selection. These adaptations, along with their effects on canalizing social learning, help to explain uniformities in political and social order, and are the bedrock upon which we build cultural and institutional variability. JEL Codes: A12, B15, B52, C7, N01, Z13
doi:10.1017/s1744137407000720 fatcat:4onbsl5chbbtpbje6vdotyookq