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  • Author or Editor: Louis Putterman x
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Abstract

The gains in economic welfare achieved over the last several generations depend on social as much as they do on technological innovations. Although much of the technological and commercial progress in question was driven mainly by self-interest and competition, effective functioning of governmental and legal systems and provision of public goods were crucial to social and economic progress, and these depended partly on social norms and motivations. Research suggests that the strengthening in recent centuries of cooperative dispositions embedded in human social psychology by long run evolutionary forces has played an important part in the escape of an increasing share of humanity from poverty. Behavioral economics and research on economic history, institutions and culture are shedding light on these connections and may provide guidance helpful to preserving late 20th century gains in the now rapidly shifting landscape.

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