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Reconciling Group Selection and Methodological Individualism

19 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2004  

Todd J. Zywicki

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: April 2004

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.

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

JEL Classification: B25, B53, K0

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=524402 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.524402

Todd J. Zywicki (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8091 (Phone)
703-993-8088 (Fax)

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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