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Reconciling Group Selection and Methodological Individualism


Todd J. Zywicki


George Mason University School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

April 2004

George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 04-12

Abstract:     
Methodological individualism underpins economic analysis. In his paper in this volume, however, Douglas Glen Whitman demonstrates that group selection can be reconciled with methodological individualism. This essay extends Whitman's analysis in two ways. First, it summarizes and restates the necessary conditions for group selection to play a role in the evolution of human preferences and societies. Second, it discusses the role of group selection in Hayek's thought, with a particular focus on the role of group selection in the evolution of legal rules and the rule of law. The viability of group selection is demonstrated to be an empirical question.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: F.A. Hayek, Evolutionary Economics, Methodological Individualism, Austrian Economics, Law and Economics

JEL Classification: B25, B53, K0

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Date posted: April 13, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Zywicki, Todd J., Reconciling Group Selection and Methodological Individualism (April 2004). George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 04-12. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=524402 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.524402

Contact Information

Todd J. Zywicki (Contact Author)
George Mason University School of Law ( email )
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8091 (Phone)
703-993-8088 (Fax)

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PERC - Property and Environment Research Center
2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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