From Bounded Rationality to Behavioral Economics
AbstractThe paper provides an brief overview of the “state of the art” in the theory of rational decision making since the 1950’s, and focuses specially on the evolutionary justification of rationality. It is claimed that this justification, and more generally the economic methodology inherited from the Chicago school, becomes untenable once taking into account Kauffman’s Nk model, showing that if evolution it is based on trial-and-error search process, it leads generally to sub- optimal stable solutions: the ‘as if’ justification of perfect rationality proves therefore to be a fallacious metaphor. The normative interpretation of decision-making theory is therefore questioned, and the two challenging views against this approach , Simon’s bounded rationality and Allais’ criticism to expected utility theory are discussed. On this ground it is shown that the cognitive characteristics of choice processes are becoming more and more important for explanation of economic behavior and of deviations from rationality. In particular, according to Kahneman’s Nobel Lecture, it is suggested that the distinction between two types of cognitive processes – the effortful process of deliberate reasoning on the one hand, and the automatic process of unconscious intuition on the other – can provide a different map with which to explain a broad class of deviations from pure ‘olympian’ rationality. This view requires re-establishing and revising connections between psychology and economics: an on-going challenge against the normative approach to economic methodology.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 0507002.
Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 08 Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 22
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Bounded Rationality; Behavioral Economics; Evolution; As If;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-07-11 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2005-07-11 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2005-07-11 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2005-07-11 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
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.:
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- Alexander Harin, 2005. "Scientific Revolution. A Farewell to EconWPA," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0512003, EconWPA.
- Alexander Harin, 2005. "A Rational Irrational Man," Public Economics 0511005, EconWPA.
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