Law, Economics and Evolutionary Theory
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Law, Economics and Evolutionary Theory

Edited by Peer Zumbansen and Gralf-Peter Calliess

Law and economics has arguably become one of the most influential theories in contemporary legal theory and adjudication. The essays in this volume, authored by both legal scholars and economists, constitute lively and critical engagements between law and economics and new institutional economics from the perspectives of legal and evolutionary theory. The result is a fresh look at core concepts in law and economics – such as ‘institutions’, ‘institutional change’ and ‘market failure‘ – that offer new perspectives on the relationship between economic and legal governance.
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Chapter 11: Gene-Culture Co-Evolutionary Theory and the Evolution of Legal Behavior and Institutions

Bart Du Laing


Bart Du Laing* INTRODUCTION 1. Some of the chapters in this edited volume are likely to have at least two things in common. First, they aim to contribute to a research project on ‘legal certainty for globalized exchange processes’ and to the latter’s attempts to explain the observed transformation ‘towards the transnationalization of commercial law, which is understood as a combination of the internationalization and privatization of the responsibility of the state for the production of the normative good of legal certainty for global commerce’. Secondly, they aim to fulfill this task by making use of ‘evolutionary theory’ or, as it was again expressed in the original conference announcement giving rise to earlier drafts of this chapter, by dealing with ‘a theoretical perspective that gives some substance to the meaning of the term “evolution” with regard to law, social organization, and the state’. Since, as I will try to explain shortly, my own particular take on this – it would appear – relatively small set of commonalities involves more specifically the use of contemporary evolutionary approaches to human behavior, I must admit to having been surprised that no one else seemed to have much use for these approaches in their respective takes on the problems that united us in the conference from which this chapter stems. After all, what better use to make of a theory originating from biology than to elucidate the biological underpinnings of our behavior and its underlying psychological mechanisms as they relate to law and legally relevant phenomena...

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