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ISSN: 2306-3483 (Online), 2071-8330 (Print)

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The field of evolutionary and neoclassical economics as a consequence of the changes in concepts of human nature

Vol. 8, No 1, 2015



Anna  Horodecka

Warsaw School of Economics (SGH)


The FIeld of evolutionary and neoclassical economics

as a consequence of the changes in concepts of human nature*





ABSTRACT. The economics depends on the concept of human nature very strongly. The concepts of human nature can be understood as a set of assumptions made about the individual (on different levels: behaviour, motives, meaning) and his interactions with other people, with groups and diverse institutions. It corresponds with the image of world people have. The models of human nature build foundations of economics and impact on the field of the economics. Therefore if those images of men change, the way of thinking about economics and their elements adjust to those changes as well. The goal of the paper is to present the impact of these alterations of image of man on the economics. This impact will be illustrated on the example of the evolutionary economics, which is contrasted with the orthodox concept of human nature persisting in the neoclassical economics – homo economicus. The method applied to this research is, among others, a content analysis of the most important texts developed within neo- classical and evolutionary economics. To reach this goal the definition of the concept of human nature will be introduced, accompanied by the main dimensions and levels of this concept. Then the variations of the concept of human nature at those levels and dimension will be compared between neoclassical and evolutionary economics. Differences in understanding of the field between those two schools will be explained as resulting from the diverse concepts of human nature. The analysis proved that the main differences in those economic schools might be explained by the changed assumptions about the human nature and the image of the world.


Received: February, 2015

1st Revision: April, 2015

Accepted: May, 2015

DOI: 10.14254/2071-


JEL Classification: B52; Z13; A12

Keywords: : field of economics, concept of human nature, neoclassical economics, evolu- tionary economics

*Research was financed by the National Science Centre in Poland (UMO-2011/03/D/HS4/00849)