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Scitovsky, behavioural economics, and beyond

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  • Pugno, Maurizio

Abstract

Scitovsky is known as a forerunner of behavioural economics simply because he drew heavily on psychology and claimed that people's choices may be "joyless" (Scitovsky, The joyless economy, 1976). However, a careful reformulation of his analysis shows that he anticipated a number of insights (also with respect to Kahneman's "two-systems of thought" which suggest new lines of inquiry from an original and different perspective. These insights of Scitovsky regard the following aspects: Uncertainty as a condition where the outcomes of choosing a particular option (novelty) is partially unknown; the case of individual "consumption skill" (inclusive of emotions) that finds this uncertainty desirable when it is challenging; the case of increasing such skill so as to change preferences and make choices more efficient; the case of failing to increase such skill so as to make addictive harmful products an alternative and more tempting option.

Suggested Citation

  • Pugno, Maurizio, 2014. "Scitovsky, behavioural economics, and beyond," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 8, pages 1-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:201424
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5018/economics-ejournal.ja.2014-24
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Cedrini & Marco Novarese, 2015. "The challenge of fear to economics," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 14(1), pages 99-106, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Scitovsky; behavioural economics; novelty; consumption skill; strong uncertainty; harmful addiction;

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory

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