A short history of economic anthropology – The …

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A related approach has been the cross-cultural application of game theory. Tests in Western societies have suggested that considerations of fairness, for example, can lead individual agents to deviate from the model of homo economicus. Some have come to similar conclusions on the basis of ‘experiments’ with games in different parts of the world (Henrich et al 2004). The objective of this research is not just to demonstrate that ‘culture’ determines economic behaviour, but to establish systematic links between cultural and biological evolution. Few contemporary anthropologists have been impressed by the results, but this attempt to get back to a 19th century agenda does build bridges to economists and biological anthropologists. Perhaps for the first time since Malinowski, papers by anthropologists have appeared in leading economics journals (Henrich ) (the reverse has not yet occurred).

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