IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Rational Irrationality: A Framework for the Neoclassical-Behavioral Debate

  • Bryan Caplan

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University)

Critics of behavioral economics often argue that apparent irrationality arises mainly because test subjects lack adequate incentives; the defenders of behavioral economics typically reply that their findings are robust to this criticism. The current paper presents a simple theoretical model of "rational irrationality" to clarify this debate, reducing the neoclassical-behavioral dispute to a controversy over the shape of agents' wealth/irrationality indifference curves. Many experimental anomalies are consistent with small deviations from polar "neoclassical" preferences, but even mildly relaxing standard assumptions about preferences has strong implications. Rational irrationality can explain both standard, costly biases, as well as wealth-enhancing irrationality, but it remains inconsistent with evidence that intensifying financial incentives for rationality makes biases more pronounced.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume26/V26N2P191_211.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 26 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 191-211

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:26:y:2000:i:2:p:191-211
Contact details of provider: Postal: c/o Dr. Alexandre Olbrecht, The Anisfield School of Business 205, Ramapo College, 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Ramapo, New Jersey 07430, USA
Phone: (201) 684-7346
Web page: http://www.ramapo.edu/eea/journal.htmlEmail:


More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:26:y:2000:i:2:p:191-211. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Victor Matheson, College of the Holy Cross)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.