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Preferences: Neither Behavioural nor Mental

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  • Francesco GUALA

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Abstract

Recent debates on the nature of preferences in economics have typically assumed that they are to be interpreted either as behavioural regularities or as mental states. In this paper I challenge this dichotomy and argue that neither interpretation is consistent with scientific practice in choice theory and behavioural economics. Preferences are dispositions with a multiply realizable causal basis, which explains why economists are reluctant to make a commitment about their interpretation.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco GUALA, 2017. "Preferences: Neither Behavioural nor Mental," Departmental Working Papers 2017-05, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2017-05
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    File URL: http://wp.demm.unimi.it/files/wp/2017/DEMM-2017_05wp.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preferences; Utility; Behavioural economics; Behaviourism;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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