Economic institutions as ecological niches

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):148-149 (2000)
Abstract
Economic institutions governing such activities as food sharing among non-kin, the accumulation and inheritance of wealth, and the division of labor and its rewards are human-constructed environments capable of imparting distinctive direction and pace to the process of biological evolution and cultural change. Where differing structures of these institutions take the form of distinct conventions sustained by (near) mutual adherence, small initial differences may support divergent evolutionary trajectories even in the absence of conformist behaviors.
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