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Biological Economics

Andrew W. Lo and Ruixun Zhang

This research review discusses and analyses a unique collection of key publications at the intersection of biology and economics, two disciplines that share a common subject: Homo sapiens. Beginning with Thomas Malthus— whose dire predictions of mass starvation due to population growth influenced Charles Darwin— economists have routinely used biological arguments in their models and methods. The review summarizes the most important of these developments in areas such as sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, behavioral ecology, behavioral economics and finance, neuroeconomics, and behavioral genomics. This research review will be an indispensable tool for economists, biologists, and practitioners looking to develop a deeper understanding of the limits of Homo economicus.

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