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Personal identity and standard economic theory

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  • John Davis

Abstract

This paper investigates the topic of personal identity in standard neoclassical theory. It looks first at the traditional utility theory of maximizing consumers and then at the extension of that analysis in the time-allocation-household-production model to see how relatively settled ontological commitments in the neoclassical research program undergo modification with its development. David Hume's skeptical treatment of personal identity is employed to assess the traditional view. The time-allocation model is shown to escape some of Hume's problems, but encounters difficulties of its own. Concluding remarks emphasize the importance of ontological analysis in economics, and suggest that identity issues underlie the investigation of causality in that analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • John Davis, 1995. "Personal identity and standard economic theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 35-52.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:2:y:1995:i:1:p:35-52
    DOI: 10.1080/13501789500000002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, June.
    2. Locke, John, 1690. "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number locke1690.
    3. Locke, John, 1697. "An Answer to Remarks Upon an Essay Concerning Human Understanding etc," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number locke1697.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bisin, Alberto & Patacchini, Eleonora & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2011. "Formation and persistence of oppositional identities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1046-1071.
    2. Alan Kirman, 2014. "Is it rational to have rational expectations?," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 13(1), pages 29-48, June.
    3. Nick Drydakis, 2013. "The effect of ethnic identity on the employment of immigrants," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 285-308, June.
    4. Alan Kirman & Miriam Teschl, 2006. "Searching for identity in the capability space," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 299-325.

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