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The Evolution of Irrationality

16 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2004  

Owen D. Jones

Vanderbilt University - Law School & Dept. of Biological Sciences


The place of the rational actor model in the analysis of individual and social behavior relevant to law remains unresolved. In recent years, scholars have sought frameworks to explain: a) disjunctions between seemingly rational behavior and seemingly irrational behavior; b) the origins of and influences on law-relevant preferences, and c) the nonrandom development of norms. This Article explains two components of an evolutionary framework that, building from accessible insights of behavioral biology, can encompass all three. The components are: "time-shifted rationality" and "the law of law's leverage."

Keywords: Behavioral Law and Economics, Evolution, Evolutionary Analysis in Law, Irrationality, Rationality

JEL Classification: A12, D90, K00, K49

Suggested Citation

Jones, Owen D., The Evolution of Irrationality. Jurimetrics, Vol 41, p. 289, 2001. Available at SSRN:

Owen D. Jones (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School & Dept. of Biological Sciences ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States


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