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How can a psychologist inform economics? The strange case of Sidney Siegel

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  • Alessandro Innocenti

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Abstract

Before Kahneman and Tversky showed how behavioural economics could bring psychology and economics into a unified framework, in the 1950s a social psychologist, Sidney Siegel, entered the realm of economics and laid the foundation of experimental economics. This paper gives an assessment of Siegel’s overall contribution and claims that Siegel was not only a pioneer of experimental economics but also of behavioural economics. Had his view on the integration of psychology and economics been more promptly received, it might have triggered a different and more successfully path to the injection of greater realism in economics. When Siegel died, his approach to integrate psychology and economics lost its main advocate. Although his legacy was paramount in the work of the Nobel Prize Vernon Smith, Siegel endorsed a quite different approach to how make interdisciplinary research effective.

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Paper provided by Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena in its series Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena with number 0808.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:usi:depfid:0808

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Keywords: economics; psychology; behavioural economics; bargaining theory; utility theory.;

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  1. Matthew Rabin, 2003. "A Perspective on Psychology and Economics," General Economics and Teaching 0303003, EconWPA.
  2. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-79, May.
  3. Alessandro Innocenti, 2008. "Linking Strategic Interaction and Bargaining Theory: The Harsanyi-Schelling Debate on the Axiom of Symmetry," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 111-132, Spring.
  4. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1995. "Path Dependence, Lock-in, and History," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 205-26, April.
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  9. Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8jd5z5j2, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  12. Vernon L. Smith, 1992. "Game Theory and Experimental Economics: Beginnings and Early Influences," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 24(5), pages 241-282, Supplemen.
  13. Robert J. Leonard, 1993. "Laboratory Strife: Higgling as Experimental Science in Economics and Social Psychology," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9314, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
  14. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  15. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  16. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-55, December.
  17. Smith, Vernon L, 1991. "Rational Choice: The Contrast between Economics and Psychology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 877-97, August.
  18. Bonetti, Shane, 1998. "Experimental economics and deception," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 377-395, June.
  19. Roth, Alvin E., 1993. "The Early History of Experimental Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(02), pages 184-209, September.
  20. Sidney Siegel, 1956. "A method for obtaining an ordered metric scale," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 207-216, June.
  21. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
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