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Rhetoric and Methodology of Behavioral Economics: The Case of Intertemporal Choice


  • Celia Roberta Muramatsu



This paper aims to present and discuss some values in theory construction and the resulting methodological and rhetorical strategies adopted by behavioral economics in search of improved explanations and predictions of choice behavior. Its point of departure is the conjecture that changes in theorizing and methodological perspectives are motivated by doubts about whether the resemblance between the standard economic model of choice and reality is close enough given the purposes of explanation and prediction.To undertake the foregoing task, it focuses attention on the terms of the debate about why (and how) to reform the behavioral foundations of the basic model of intertemporal choice (i.e. constant discounted utility model). More importantly, it will advance the thesis that behavioral economists' way of using experimental data to test and justify the hyperbolic discounting hypothesis is rather persuasive and has contributed to improved explanation of intertemporal choice anomalies, though it involves important methodological challenges.

Suggested Citation

  • Celia Roberta Muramatsu, 2009. "Rhetoric and Methodology of Behavioral Economics: The Case of Intertemporal Choice," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 10(1), pages 01-18.
  • Handle: RePEc:anp:econom:v:10:y:2009:i:1:p01_18

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    Rhetoric; Methodology; Economics; Psychology; Explanation;

    JEL classification:

    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making


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