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Complexity, Bounded Rationality and Heuristic Search

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  • MacLeod W. Bentley

    () (University of California)

Abstract

This paper explores the use of heuristic search algorithms for modeling human decision making. It is shown that this algorithm is consistent with many observed behavioral regularities, and may help explain deviations from rational choice. The main insight is that the heuristic function can be viewed as formal implementation of one aspect of emotion as discussed in Descarte's Error by Antonio Damasio. Consistent with Damasio's observations, it is shown that the quality of decision making is very sensitive to the nature of the heuristic ("emotion"), and hence this may help us better understand the role of emotion in rational choice theory.

Suggested Citation

  • MacLeod W. Bentley, 2002. "Complexity, Bounded Rationality and Heuristic Search," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-52, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:contributions.1:y:2002:i:1:n:8
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    Cited by:

    1. W. Bentley MacLeod & Daniel Parent, 1999. "Job characteristics, wages, and the employment contract," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 13-27.
    2. MacLeod, W Bentley, 2016. "Human capital: Linking behavior to rational choice via dual process theory," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 20-31.
    3. W. Bentley MacLeod, 1996. "Decision, Contract, and Emotion: Some Economics for a Complex and Confusing World," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 788-810, November.
    4. Xavier Gabaix, 2014. "A Sparsity-Based Model of Bounded Rationality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1661-1710.
    5. Yilmaz Kocer, 2010. "Endogenous Learning with Bounded Memory," Working Papers 1290, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
    6. Rick, Scott & Weber, Roberto A., 2010. "Meaningful learning and transfer of learning in games played repeatedly without feedback," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 716-730, March.
    7. Mansury, Yuri & Gulyas, Laszlo, 2007. "The emergence of Zipf's Law in a system of cities: An agent-based simulation approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2438-2460, July.
    8. W. Bentley MacLeod & Mark Pingle, 2007. "Patience Versus Decisiveness in Decision-Making," Working Papers 07-004, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics;University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.

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