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The concept of evolutionary game theory has been around for about forty years. The mathematical details are worked out quite well. Yet this discipline is usually a side note in game theory classes and is seldom applied in economics research. Have there been any papers in this field that are considered influential in economics?

To clarify:
There are a lot of papers about the connection of game theory and evolutionary game theory, but only a few that seek to apply evolutionary game theory to explain some economic phenomenon.

I know of this paper by Vega-Redondo and this paper by Schaffer.

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    $\begingroup$ Also see "Learning, mutation, and long-run equilibria in games". $\endgroup$ – NickJ May 8 '15 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ @NickJ Perhaps I should clarify: There are a lot of papers about the connection of game theory and evolutionary game theory, but only a few that seek to apply evolutionary game theory to explain some economic phenomenon. But the paper you linked is definitely useful, I will browse its references. $\endgroup$ – Giskard May 8 '15 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ I see, the only other thing that comes to mind right now is "Do markets favor agents able to make accurate predictions?", which asks whether biased investors will eventually lose all their money and be driven out of the market. $\endgroup$ – NickJ May 8 '15 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what you're looking for, but it seems like any foundational EGT paper would qualify, the first coming to mind being "The Evolution of Cooperation" (pdf) by Axelrod and Hamilton (1981). $\endgroup$ – usul May 10 '15 at 4:40
  • $\begingroup$ Not to mention the work of Sam Bowles and Herb Gintis, the latter of whom has done great work reframing supposed behavioral paradoxes identified within behavioral economics as potentially adaptive behavior once you abandon the straw-person rational actor model for one rooted in evolutionary dynamics, whether cultural or genetic or both. $\endgroup$ – Brash Equilibrium Apr 15 at 20:34
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Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.

Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.

I disagree with your assertion that EGT is seldom applied or that it has not been influential. Both of the papers referenced above appear in RePEc's list of the top 1% of citations.

Allowing preferences to 'change' can generate just about any equilibrium you want, so the premise behind EGT is a tough sell in many economic models - not to say compelling research hasn't done so. The bottom line is that it isn't a part of the atmosphere where mere mortals can tread.

EGT has, in fact, been applied to many problems in economics as well as those traditionally parsed by the other social sciences - particularly the evolution of social norms, political representation, voting, and distributive justice.

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