Adam Smith on the Future of Experimental Evolution and Economics

Originally published in Journal of Bioeconomics

Experimental evolution is difficult to apply to humans because of the need to study possible changes over many generations. A similar method, though, may see history as a substitute for experiments. The 18th century economist Adam Smith uses methods compatible with the logic of experimental evolution, through the assumption of human homogeneity and the study of history, to explain endogenous variations of preferences and institutions.