When Nice Guys Finish First: The Evolution of Cooperation, The Study of Law, and the Ordering of Legal Regimes

This Note adds to the scholarship in the area of Evolutionary Analysis and the Law (EA). EA is a paradigm that comments on the implications of evolution on the law. EA recognizes that many complex human behaviors that the law seeks to regulate have evolutionary origins that remain relevant today. This Note details how an understanding of the evolutionary basis of cooperation can bring about favorable revisions and reforms in the law.

Following a review of the scientific foundation of EA, this Note sets forth the proposition that humans have an evolutionarily developed tendency to cooperate, an idea that contrasts the widely held belief that the evolutionary man is purely self-interested. This Note does, however, observe that the tendency to cooperate is not expressed at all times. This Note then explores the implications of EA on other areas of legal scholarship, such as behavioral law and economics, default rules in partnership law, and efficient mechanisms of trade. This Note concludes by addressing the concerns of EA critics and mapping a path for the future of EA.