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Behavior, Institutions, and Evolution

600 pages, parution le 10/03/2006


In this novel introduction to modern microeconomic theory, Samuel Bowles returns to the classical economists' interest in the wealth and poverty of nations and people, the workings of the institutions of capitalist economies, and the coevolution of individual preferences and the structures of markets, firms, and other institutions. Using recent advances in evolutionary game theory, contract theory, behavioral experiments, and the modeling of dynamic processes, he develops a theory of how economic institutions shape individual behavior, and how institutions evolve due to individual actions, technological change, and chance events. Topics addressed include institutional innovation, social preferences, nonmarket social interactions, social capital, equilibrium unemployment, credit constraints, economic power, generalized increasing returns, disequilibrium outcomes, and path dependency.

Each chapter is introduced by empirical puzzles or historical episodes illuminated by the modeling that follows, and the book closes with sets of problems to be solved by readers seeking to improve their mathematical modeling skills. Complementing standard mathematical analysis are agent-based computer simulations of complex evolving systems that are available online so that readers can experiment with the models. Bowles concludes with the time-honored challenge of "getting the rules right," providing an evaluation of markets, states, and communities as contrasting and yet sometimes synergistic structures of governance. Must reading for students and scholars not only in economics but across the behavioral sciences, this engagingly written and compelling exposition of the new microeconomics moves the field beyond the conventional models of prices and markets toward a more accurate and policy-relevant portrayal of human social behavior.

L'auteur Samuel Bowles

is Research Professor and Director of the Behavioral Sciences Program at the Santa Fe Institute and Professor of Economics at the University of Siena. He is coauthor of Notes and Problems in Microeconomic Theory (North Holland Texts in Mathematical Economics) and Schooling in Capitalist America (Basic Books), and has published articles, most recently, in the American Economic Review, Nature, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Economic Journal, and the Journal of Theoretical Biology.


  • Prologue: Economics and the Wealth of Nations and People
  • Part I: Coordination and Conflict: Generic Social Interactions
    • Chapter One: Social Interactions and Institutional Design
    • Chapter Two: Spontaneous Order: The Self-organization of Economic Life
    • Chapter Three: Preferences and Behavior
    • Chapter Four: Coordination Failures and Institutional Responses
    • Chapter Five: Dividing the Gains to Cooperation: Bargaining and Rent Seeking
  • Part II : Competition and Cooperation: The Institutions of Capitalism
    • Chapter Six: Utopian Capitalism: Decentralized Coordination
    • Chapter Seven: Exchange: Contracts, Norms, and Power
    • Chapter Eight: Employment, Unemployment, and Wages
    • Chapter Nine: Credit Markets, Wealth Constraints, and Allocative Inefficiency
    • Chapter Ten: The Institutions of a Capitalist Economy
  • Part III: Change: The Coevolution of Institutions and Preferences
    • Chapter Eleven: Institutional and Individual Evolution
    • Chapter Twelve: Chance, Collective Action, and Institutional Innovation
    • Chapter Thirteen: The Coevolution of Institutions and Preferences
  • Part IV: Conclusion
    • Chapter Fourteen: Economic Governance: Markets, States, and Communities
    • Problem Sets
    • Additional Readings
    • Works Cited
Voir tout

Caractéristiques techniques du livre "Microeconomics"

Éditeur(s) Princeton University Press
Auteur(s) Samuel Bowles
Parution 10/03/2006
Nb. de pages 600
Format 15,5 x 23,5
Couverture Broché
Poids 820g
Intérieur Quadri
EAN13 9780691126388
ISBN13 978-0-691-12638-8


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