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Modeling Rational Agents The Consistency View Of Rationality And The Changing Image Of Neoclassical Economics

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  • Nicola GIOCOLI

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Abstract

The paper investigates the development of the notion of rationality in choice and decision theory from the viewpoint of the transformation undertaken by neoclassical economics during the 20th century — the so-called formalist revolution. The main point is that the reduction of the economic agent to a consistency restriction, carried out by Samuelson's revealed preference theory and (via von Neumann and Morgenstern) Savage's expected utility theory, behind the façade of improving the empirical accountability of economics, eventually acted as a catalyst for that transformation. Thus, no real difference seems to exist on these grounds between Samuelson's, von Neumann and Morgenstern's or Savage's operationalist accounts of choice and decision theory and a purely formalistic approach like Debreu's one.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola GIOCOLI, 2005. "Modeling Rational Agents The Consistency View Of Rationality And The Changing Image Of Neoclassical Economics," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 49, pages 177-208.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2005:i:49:p:177-208
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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Le Glatin & Pascal Le Masson & Benoit Weil, 2017. "Decision design and re-ordering preferences: the case of an exploration project in a large firm," Post-Print hal-01529620, HAL.
    2. Neri Salvadori & Rodolfo Signorino, 2013. "The Classical Notion of Competition Revisited," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 149-175, Spring.
    3. Giocoli, Nicola, 2011. "From Wald to Savage: homo economicus becomes a Bayesian statistician," MPRA Paper 34117, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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