Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 23–28 | Cite as

Adam Smith on the future of experimental evolution and economics

  • Maria Pia PaganelliEmail author


Experimental evolution is difficult to apply to humans because of the need to study possible changes over many generations. A similar method, though, may see history as a substitute for experiments. The 18th century economist Adam Smith uses methods compatible with the logic of experimental evolution, through the assumption of human homogeneity and the study of history, to explain endogenous variations of preferences and institutions.


Adam Smith Experimental evolution History Cultural adaptation Institutional adaptation 



Thanks to Terry Burnham, Tyler Cowen, Paul Dudenhefer, Kevin Hoover, David Levy, John Singleton, Craig Smith, and Vernon Smith for comments on early drafts of this paper. All mistakes are mine.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity UniversitySan AntonioUSA

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