Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

B13, B15, B31

Key Words

Instincts, Institutions, Neoclassical Economics, Thorstein Veblen, Veblenian Economics


This inquiry seeks to establish that in his writings, Thorstein Veblen offers a comprehensive and insightful contribution towards an understanding of instincts. Instincts can be viewed self-regarding and thought to promote the survival of the individual. Other instincts can be classified as group-regarding and contribute towards the continuation of society. Instincts can lead to the formation of habits and to combine to create societal institutions that govern human behavior. With the passage of time, instincts, habits, and institutions are thought to contribute to economic and societal evolution.

Persistent Identifier