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From Homo Economicus to Homo Sapiens

  • Richard H. Thaler

In responding to a request for predictions about the future of economics, I predict that Homo Economicus will evolve into Homo Sapiens, or, more simply put, economics will become more related to human behavior. My specific predictions are that Homo Economicus will start to lose IQ, will become a slower learner, will start interacting with other species, and that economists will start to study human cognition, human emotion, and will distinguish more clearly between normative and descriptive theories.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 133-141

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:1:p:133-141
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.1.133
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  1. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  2. Loewenstein, George, 1996. "Out of Control: Visceral Influences on Behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 272-292, March.
  3. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  4. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
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