Evolutionary Biology in Economics: A Review


Jason Collins


May 10, 2016

I’ve just had a new article published in the Economic Record - Evolutionary Biology in Economics: A Review (pdf).

Evolutionary Biology in Economics: A Review

Jason Collins, Boris Baer and Ernst Juerg Weber

As human traits and preferences were shaped by natural selection, there is substantial potential for the use of evolutionary biology in economic analysis. In this paper, we review the extent to which evolutionary theory has been incorporated into economic research. We examine work in four areas: the evolution of preferences, the molecular genetic basis of economic traits, the interaction of evolutionary and economic dynamics, and the genetic foundations of economic development. These fields comprise a thriving body of research, but have significant scope for further investigation. In particular, the growing accessibility of low-cost molecular data will create more opportunities for research on the relationship between molecular genetic information and economic traits.

I previously posted about an earlier version of this paper when it was called The Evolutionary Foundations of Economics. You can access that earlier paper here.

It’s not the most exciting article - it was the introductory chapter of my PhD thesis and I wrote it to provide the foundations for the substantive chapters rather than to spark a revolution. However, it will give you a decent snapshot of what is going on.