Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 287–297 | Cite as

What can economics contribute to the study of human evolution?

Review Essay


The revised edition of Paul Seabright’s The Company of Strangers is critically reviewed. Seabright aims to help non-economists participating in the cross-disciplinary study of the evolution of human sociality appreciate the potential value that can be added by economists. Though the book includes nicely constructed and vivid essays on a range of economic topics, in its main ambition it largely falls short. The most serious problem is endorsement of the so-called strong reciprocity hypothesis that has been promoted by several prominent economists, but does not pass muster with biologists.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EconomicsUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Center for Economic Analysis of RiskGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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