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Neuroeconomics: A Critical Reconsideration

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  • Glenn W Harrison

Abstract

Understanding more about how the brain functions should help us understand economic behaviour. But some would have us believe that it has done this already, and that insights from neuroscience have already provided insights in economics that we would not otherwise have. Much of this is just academic marketing hype, and to get down to substantive issues we need to identify that fluff for what it is. After we clear away the distractions, what is left? The answer is that a lot is left, but it is still all potential. That is not a bad thing, or a reason to stop the effort, but it does point to the need for a serious reconsideration of what neuroeconomics is and what passes for explanation in this literature. I argue that neuroeconomics can be a valuable field, but not the way it is being developed and “sold” now. The same is true more generally of behavioural economics, which shares many of the methodological flaws of neuroeconomics.
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  • Glenn W Harrison, 2008. "Neuroeconomics: A Critical Reconsideration," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001915, David K. Levine.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:122247000000001915
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    1. Ig(noble)Nobels 2012, and beyond …
      by Andreas Ortmann in Core Economics on 2012-09-25 21:55:09

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    Cited by:

    1. Gonzalo Valdés-Edwards & Salvador Valdés-Prieto, 2013. "A Tractable Theory of Choice Based on Cell Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 4424, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde & Itzhak Aharon, 2011. "From Neuroeconomics to Genetics: The Intertemporal Choices Case as an Example," Post-Print ijn_00713466, HAL.
    3. Dietrich, Franz & List, Christian, 2016. "Mentalism Versus Behaviourism In Economics: A Philosophy-Of-Science Perspective," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(02), pages 249-281, July.
    4. Andersen, Steffen & Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten Igel & Rutström, Elisabet E., 2010. "Behavioral econometrics for psychologists," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 553-576, August.
    5. Ivan Boldyrev & Carsten Herrmann-Pillath, 2013. "Hegel’s “Objective Spirit”, extended mind, and the institutional nature of economic action," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 12(2), pages 177-202, November.
    6. Dietrich, Franz & List, Christian, 2016. "Mentalism Versus Behaviourism In Economics: A Philosophy-Of-Science Perspective," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(02), pages 249-281, July.
    7. Witt, Ulrich & Binder, Martin, 2013. "Disentangling motivational and experiential aspects of “utility” – A neuroeconomics perspective," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 27-40.
    8. Jennifer K Gippel, 2013. "A revolution in finance?," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 38(1), pages 125-146, April.
    9. Andersen, Steffen & Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten Igel & Rutström, Elisabet E., 2014. "Dual criteria decisions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 101-113.
      • Andersen, Steffen & Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten Igel & Rutström, Elisabet, 2009. "Dual Criteria Decisions," Working Papers 02-2009, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
    10. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-01249632 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Ivan Boldyrev & Carsten Herrmann-Pillath, 2012. "Hegel’s “Objective Spirit” and its Contemporary Relevance for the Philosophy of Economics," HSE Working papers WP BRP 05/HUM/2012, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    12. repec:spr:sochwe:v:48:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00355-016-1020-x is not listed on IDEAS
    13. León, Carmelo J. & Araña, Jorge E. & Hanemann, W. Michael & Riera, Pere, 2014. "Heterogeneity and emotions in the valuation of non-use damages caused by oil spills," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 129-139.
    14. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2015. "Wissenschaftlicher Fortschritt in den Wirtschaftswissenschaften: Einige Bemerkungen," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 135(2), pages 209-248.
    15. Stanton, Angela A., 2008. "Neuroeconomics: A Critique of ‘Neuroeconomics: A Critical Reconsideration’," MPRA Paper 13957, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Mar 2009.
    16. Don Ross, 2011. "Neuroeconomics and Economic Methodology," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Recent Economic Methodology, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Lester, Bijou Yang, 2011. "An exploratory analysis of composite choices: Weighing rationality versus irrationality," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 949-958.
    18. repec:beh:jbepv1:v:1:y:2017:i:s:p:5-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Tomasz Zalega, 2015. "Behavioural Economics as a New Trend in Economics – An Overview (Ekonomia behawioraln jako nowy nurt ekonomii - zarys problemtyki)," Research Reports, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 1(18), pages 7-25.

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