Working Paper No. 04-12:
Reconciling Group Selection and Methodological Individualism
Date Posted: 2004
Abstract (below) | Full text (most recent) on SSRN
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.