AbstractBehavioral Economics is the combination of psychology and economics that investigates what happens in markets in which some of the agents display human limitations and complications. We begin with a preliminary question about relevance. Does some combination of market forces, learning and evolution render these human qualities irrelevant? No. Because of limits of arbitrage less than perfect agents survive and influence market outcomes. We then discuss three important ways in which humans deviate from the standard economic model. Bounded rationality reflects the limited cognitive abilities that constrain human problem solving. Bounded willpower captures the fact that people sometimes make choices that are not in their long-run interest. Bounded self-interest incorporates the comforting fact that humans are often willing to sacrifice their own interests to help others. We then illustrate how these concepts can be applied in two settings: finance and savings. Financial markets have greater arbitrage opportunities than other markets, so behavioral factors might be thought to be less important here, but we show that even here the limits of arbitrage create anomalies that the psychology of decision making helps explain. Since saving for retirement requires both complex calculations and willpower, behavioral factors are essential elements of any complete descriptive theory.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7948.
Date of creation: Oct 2000
Date of revision:
Note: AP LS
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Camerer, Colin & Babcock, Linda & Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard, 1996.
"Labor Supply of New York City Cab Drivers: One Day At A time,"
960, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Camerer, Colin, et al, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 407-41, May.
- James Banks & Richard Blundell & Sarah Tanner, 1995.
"Is there a retirement-savings puzzle?,"
IFS Working Papers
W95/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1995.
"The Limits of Arbitrage,"
NBER Working Papers
5167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Andrei Shleifer ad Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1725, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Russell, Thomas & Thaler, Richard, 1985. "The Relevance of Quasi Rationality in Competitive Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1071-82, December.
- John Haltiwanger & Michael Waldman, 1983.
"Rational Expectations and the Limits of Rationality: An Analysis of Heterogeneity,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
303, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Haltiwanger, John & Waldman, Michael, 1985. "Rational Expectations and the Limits of Rationality: An Analysis of Heterogeneity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 326-40, June.
- De Long, J Bradford & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1990.
"Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 703-38, August.
- De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Waldmann, Robert J., 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Scholarly Articles 3725552, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- J. Bradford De Long & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, . "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _124, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
- Shefrin, Hersh & Statman, Meir, 1985. " The Disposition to Sell Winners Too Early and Ride Losers Too Long: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 777-90, July.
- De Bondt, Werner F M & Thaler, Richard, 1985. " Does the Stock Market Overreact?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 793-805, July.
- Charles Lee & Andrei Shleifer & Richard Thaler, 1990.
"Investor Sentiment and the Closed-End Fund Puzzle,"
NBER Working Papers
3465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Froot, Kenneth A. & Dabora, Emil M., 1999.
"How are stock prices affected by the location of trade?,"
Journal of Financial Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 189-216, August.
- Kenneth A. Froot & Emil Dabora, 1998. "How are Stock Prices Affected by the Location of Trade?," NBER Working Papers 6572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard Thaler, 1985.
"Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice,"
INFORMS, vol. 4(3), pages 199-214.
- John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.