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Agent failures: A theory of internalities


  • Hernán Vallejo


Market failures, such as market power, externalities and imperfect information, have played a major role in economic theory. This article studies internalities, as others have done in the past, as agent failures. To do so, it considers economic agents with imperfect foresight, that face internal conflicts between say, rationality and impulsivity; consciousness and unconsciousness, short run welfare and long run welfare; between members of the board; or between members of the Government cabinet or a majority coalition in Congress. This allows to identify the biases in judgment that lead to the misallocation of resources and the loss of welfare, that have been studied for example in behavioral economics, and that are defined here as internalities. Such approach helps to explain irrational or unexpected behaviors, expanding the use of the tools of conventional economic theory; and understand better and hopefully improve, personal, social and public solutions, to this important source of economic inefficiencies.

Suggested Citation

  • Hernán Vallejo, 2023. "Agent failures: A theory of internalities," Documentos CEDE 20653, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:020653

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hunt Allcott & Benjamin B Lockwood & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2019. "Regressive Sin Taxes, with an Application to the Optimal Soda Tax," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 134(3), pages 1557-1626.
    2. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2015. "Present Bias: Lessons Learned and to Be Learned," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 273-279, May.
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    More about this item


    Internalities; agent failures; government failures; market failures; snudge;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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