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From anecdotes to novels: Reflective inputs for behavioural economics


  • Peter Earl


Thaler's deployment of anomalous anecdotes has helped raise the profile of behavioural economics. This paper explores possible uses of other narrative materials as aids to economic research. After examining the use of anecdotes in economics, the paper reviews opportunities to use a wide range of more extensive reflective materials. Two text-based applications are then presented: the first uses material from consumer magazines, the second draws from novels by David Lodge. Both applications call into question conventional thinking regarding the degree of substitution between product characteristics, while the second is also instructive regarding the processes by which economic activities are coordinated.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Earl, 2011. "From anecdotes to novels: Reflective inputs for behavioural economics," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1-2), pages 5-22.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:nzecpp:v:45:y:2011:i:1-2:p:5-22 DOI: 10.1080/00779954.2011.556067

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lixin Cai & John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2006. "Accounting For Population Ageing In Tax Microsimulation Modelling By Survey Reweighting ," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 18-37, March.
    2. Guest, Ross, 2007. "Innovations in the macroeconomic modelling of population ageing," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 101-119, January.
    3. Miles, David, 1999. "Modelling the Impact of Demographic Change upon the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 1-36, January.
    4. José Alvardo & John Creedy, 998. "Population Ageing, Migration and Social Expenditure," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1396.
    5. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467-467.
    6. John Creedy & Grant M. Scobie, 2005. "Population Ageing and Social Expenditure in New Zealand," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(1), pages 19-39, March.
    7. Ross Guest, 2007. "Can OECD Countries Afford Demographic Change?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 40(2), pages 149-164, June.
    8. Richard Disney, 1996. "Can We Afford to Grow Older?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026204157x, July.
    9. Guest, R, 2005. "A Potential Dividend from Workforce Ageing in Australia," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 31(2), pages 135-154.
    10. John Creedy (ed.), 2007. "New Developments in the Economics of Population Ageing," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12568.
    11. Ross Guest, 2006. "Population ageing, fiscal pressure and tax smoothing: a CGE application to Australia," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 27(2), pages 183-203, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bianchi, Marina, 2014. "The magic of storytelling: How curiosity and aesthetic preferences work," Economics Discussion Papers 2014-23, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. Bianchi, Marina, 2014. "The magic of storytelling: How curiosity and aesthetic preferences work," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 8, pages 1-30.


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