Jeffrey C. Ely*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Is there reason to believe that our brains have evolved to make efficient decisions so that the details of the internal process are irrelevant? I develop a model which illustrates a limitation of adaptive processes: improvements tend to come in the form of kludges. A kludge is a marginal adaptation that compensates for, but does not eliminate, fundamental design inefficiencies. When kludges accumulate, the result can be perpetually suboptimal behavior even in a model of evolution in which arbitrarily large innovations occur infinitely, often with probability 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-231
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Microeconomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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