The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Herbert Gintis
Reference work entry


From the latter half of the 19th century to the Great Depression and the rise of fascism in the 1930s, it was fashionable both in and out of scientific circles to stress the contribution of the genetic worth of individuals and groups to their economic success. This stress was to be as often found among progressives, who used the doctrine to affirm birth control, divorce, and equal educational and economic opportunity for women, as among conservatives, who relied upon eugenic arguments to justify the natural superiority of their favoured social classes, ethic groups, and races. Eugenics, for instance, was supported by such radicals as Havelock Ellis, Beatrice and Sydney Webb and George Bernard Shaw, as well as such conservatives as Francis Galton, Leonard Darwin and Charles Davenport.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert Gintis
    • 1
  1. 1.