Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 1–18 | Cite as

Choice, habit and evolution

  • Geoffrey M. HodgsonEmail author
Regular Article


Several leading mainstream economists including Gary Becker have treated habit as serially correlated behaviour resulting from deliberate choices. This approach puts choice before habit but involves assumptions of extensive memory and decision-making capacity. By contrast, earlier authors such as William James, John Dewey and Thorstein Veblen saw deliberation and choice as a contingent outcome of habits, where the latter are defined in terms of acquired dispositions rather than overt behaviour. The approach of this second group is more consistent with an evolutionary perspective and the limited computational capacities of the human brain.


Choice Habit Instinct Bounded rationality Evolution 

JEL Classification

B52 D01 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Business SchoolUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUK

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