Economics and Evolution as Different Paradigms

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A lot of data interpreted by the right kind of theory (see E&E III) was required for Lin to identify the eight ingredients that enable groups to manage their own affairs. A warning is in order before I proceed: After you learn them, you are likely to think “Of course! Aren’t these obvious?” The answer…

We needn’t wait for the merits of the evolutionary perspective for economics and public policy to be recognized–they already have in the choice of Elinor Ostrom as the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics. Lin (as she likes to be called) is a political scientist by training, but the study of institutional change…

The goal of public policy, at least idealistically, is to benefit the common good. Way back in the 1700’s, Adam Smith made the observation that economies have a way of running themselves without their members having the common good in mind. Their narrow concerns are guided, as if by an invisible hand, to regulate the…

I’m back after finishing the first draft of my next book, titled Evolving the City, which will be published by Little, Brown and is about how evolutionary theory can improve the quality of life in a practical sense. It is based on my own odyssey during the last four years trying to make a difference…

The year was 2007. The event was the 118th annual meeting of the American Economic Association. The person was George A. Akerlof, recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics and newly elected president of the AEA, who stepped up to the podium to deliver his presidential address titled “The Missing Motivation in Macroeconomics“. The…

Consider the following proposition: I’ll give you 1 million dollars for sure or a 50:50 chance at 2.1 million dollars. What’s your choice? If you’re like me, you’ll choose the certain 1 million. Yet, that is a violation of core economic theory that became known as the “Allais Paradox” based on the pioneering work of…

Meet the Evolution Institute, the world’s first evolutionary think tank. The mission of the EI is to connect the world of evolutionary science to the world of public policy formulation. Only three years old, we have already made progress on childhood education, risky adolescent behavior, and the mother of all policy issues–the regulation of human…