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Expanding the behavioral foundations of labor economics

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  • Bruce E. Kaufman

Abstract

The author examines, critiques, and suggests modifications to the psychological assumptions of the rational choice model of the human agent that underlies much of the theoretical work in modern, neoclassical labor economics. He analyzes the rational choice model in terms of three psychological constructs-motivation, cognition, and emotion-in the context of a five-step model of the human behavioral process. Examples from the empirical and theoretical labor economics literature illustrate both problems with the current theory and new or improved insights and predictions that can be gained by incorporating additional psychological theories and concepts in economic analysis. The author concludes that although the rational choice model is a powerful and productive conceptual device, in many cases it cannot adequately explain behavior in the world of work, and labor economic theory would be improved by a more interdisciplinary approach that integrates conceptual and empirical research from the behavioral sciences. (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 52 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 361-392

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:52:y:1999:i:3:p:361-392

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Cited by:
  1. Timothy Hinks & Carola Gruen, 2007. "What is the Structure of South African Happiness Equations? Evidence from Quality of Life Surveys," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 82(2), pages 311-336, June.
  2. Olivier Baguelin, 2005. "Stratégies d'accès à l'estime de soi et relation d'emploi," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques v05062, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  3. Hirsch, Barry & Kaufman, Bruce E. & Zelenska, Tetyana, 2011. "Minimum Wage Channels of Adjustment," IZA Discussion Papers 6132, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. John Schmitt, 2013. "Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment?," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2013-04, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  5. repec:ilo:ilowps:374049 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 2008. "The Concept Of Comparison Income: An Historical Perspective," MPRA Paper 8713, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Alkire, S. & Deneulin, S., 2000. "Individual Motivation, Its Nature, Determinants and Consequences for within Group Behaviour," Research Paper 184, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
  8. Timothy Hinks, 2008. "Poverty, networks and location: the determinants of job-search in South Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 117-131.
  9. Dohmen, Thomas, 2014. "Behavioural Labour Economics: Advances and Future Directions," IZA Discussion Papers 8263, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00196110 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Nadia Steiber, 2008. ""How Many Hours Would you Want to Work a Week?": Job Quality and the Omitted Variables Bias in Labour Supply Models," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 121, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  12. Kaufman, Bruce E., 2003. "The organization of economic activity: insights from the institutional theory of John R. Commons," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 71-96, September.

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