IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/esi/evopap/2006-21.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Rationality, Rule-Following and Emotions: On the Economics of Moral Preferences

Author

Listed:
  • Viktor J. Vanberg

Abstract

The long-standing critique of the ‘economic model of man' has gained new impetus not least due to the broadening research in behavioral and experimental economics. Many of the critics have focused on the apparent difficulty of traditional rational choice theory to account for the role of moral or ethical concerns in human conduct, and a number of authors have suggested modifications in the standard model in response to such critique. This paper takes issue with a quite commonly adopted ‘revisionist' strategy, namely seeking to account for moral concerns by including them as additional preferences in an agent's utility function. It is argued that this strategy ignores the critical difference between preferences over outcomes and preferences over actions, and that it fails to recognize that ‘moral preferences' belong into the second category. Preferences over actions, however, cannot be consistently accounted for within a theoretical framework that focuses on the rationality of single actions. They require a shift of perspective, from a theory of rational choice to a theory of rule-following behavior. Length 30 pages

Suggested Citation

  • Viktor J. Vanberg, 2007. "Rationality, Rule-Following and Emotions: On the Economics of Moral Preferences," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-21, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2006-21
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    2. Amartya Sen, 1997. "Maximization and the Act of Choice," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 745-780, July.
    3. Sen, Amartya K, 1973. "Behaviour and the Concept of Preference," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 40(159), pages 241-259, August.
    4. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-755, September.
    5. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 285-300, October.
    6. Vernon L. Smith, 2003. "Constructivist and Ecological Rationality in Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 465-508, June.
    7. Bruno Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not Only What, but Also How Matters," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(3), pages 377-377, September.
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:86:y:1992:i:02:p:418-431_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. S. Illeris & G. Akehurst, 2002. "Introduction," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 1-3, January.
    10. Pettit, Philip, 2005. "Construing Sen On Commitment," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 15-32, April.
    11. Sen, Amartya, 2005. "Why Exactly Is Commitment Important For Rationality?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 5-14, April.
    12. Viktor Vanberg, 2004. "The rationality postulate in economics: its ambiguity, its deficiency and its evolutionary alternative," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 1-29.
    13. Vernon L. Smith, 1998. "The Two Faces of Adam Smith," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(1), pages 2-19, July.
    14. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2002. "Why Social Preferences Matter -- The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation and Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 1-33, March.
    15. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    16. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
    17. U. Witt, 2005. "From Sensory to Positivist Utilitarianism and Back -- The Rehabilitation of Naturalistic Conjectures in the Theory of Demand," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2005-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2006-21. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christoph Mengs). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/vamarde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.