IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mil/wpdepa/2017-05.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Preferences: Neither Behavioural nor Mental

Author

Listed:
  • Francesco GUALA

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
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://wp.demm.unimi.it/files/wp/2017/DEMM-2017_05wp.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mongin, P., 1998. "Does Optimization Imply Rationality?," Papers 9817, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
    2. Daniel Kahneman & Peter P. Wakker & Rakesh Sarin, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-406.
    3. Ivan Moscati, 2013. "How cardinal utility entered economic analysis: 1909--1944," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(6), pages 906-939, December.
    4. Glimcher, Paul W. & Dorris, Michael C. & Bayer, Hannah M., 2005. "Physiological utility theory and the neuroeconomics of choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 213-256, August.
    5. Ivan Moscati, 2013. "Were Jevons, Menger, and Walras Really Cardinalists? On the Notion of Measurement in Utility Theory, Psychology, Mathematics, and Other Disciplines, 1870-1910," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 45(3), pages 373-414, Fall.
    6. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-01249632 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    8. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    9. Dietrich, Franz & List, Christian, 2016. "Mentalism Versus Behaviourism In Economics: A Philosophy-Of-Science Perspective," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 249-281, July.
    10. Philippe Mongin, 2000. "Les préférences révélées et la formation de la théorie du consommateur," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 51(5), pages 1125-1152.
    11. Luigino Bruni & Robert Sugden, 2007. "The road not taken: how psychology was removed from economics, and how it might be brought back," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 146-173, January.
    12. Don Ross, 2011. "Estranged parents and a schizophrenic child: choice in economics, psychology and neuroeconomics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 217-231, September.
    13. Hausman,Daniel M., 2012. "Preference, Value, Choice, and Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107695122, October.
    14. Sugden, Robert, 1991. "Rational Choice: A Survey of Contributions from Economics and Philosophy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 751-785, July.
    15. Hausman,Daniel M., 2012. "Preference, Value, Choice, and Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107015432, October.
    16. Okasha, Samir, 2016. "On The Interpretation Of Decision Theory," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(3), pages 409-433, November.
    17. Shira B. Lewin, 1996. "Economics and Psychology: Lessons for Our Own Day from the Early Twentieth Century," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1293-1323, September.
    18. Jack Vromen, 2010. "On the surprising finding that expected utility is literally computed in the brain," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 17-36.
    19. Roger E. Backhouse & Steve G. Medema, 2009. "Defining Economics: The Long Road to Acceptance of the Robbins Definition," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(s1), pages 805-820, October.
    20. Hausman, Daniel M., 2000. "Revealed preference, belief, and game theory," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 99-115, April.
    21. D. Wade Hands, 2014. "Paul Samuelson and Revealed Preference Theory," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 85-116, Spring.
    22. Moscati, Ivan, 2013. "Austrian Debates on Utility Measurement from Menger to Hayek," CESMEP Working Papers 201306, University of Turin.
    23. Fumagalli, Roberto, 2013. "The Futile Search For True Utility," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 325-347, November.
    24. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Dorian Jullien, 2016. "Under Uncertainty, Over Time and Regarding Other People: Rationality in 3D," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
    2. Guilhem Lecouteux & Léonard Moulin, 2013. "From welfare to preferences, do decision flaws matter? The case of tuition fees," Working Papers hal-00807687, HAL.
    3. Dorian Jullien, 2018. "Under Risk, Over Time, Regarding Other People: Language and Rationality Within Three Dimensions [Face au risque, dans le temps, par rapport aux autres : langage et rationalité dans trois dimensions," Post-Print halshs-01651042, HAL.
    4. Dorian Jullien, 2013. "Asian Disease-type of Framing of Outcomes as an Historical Curiosity," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-47, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
    5. Bereket Kebede & Nicole Gross-Camp & Adrian Martin & Shawn McGuire & Joseph Munyarukaza, 2018. "Inequality, envy and personality in public goods: An experimental study," CSAE Working Paper Series 2018-10, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. Jacobs Martin, 2016. "Accounting for Changing Tastes: Approaches to Explaining Unstable Individual Preferences," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 67(2), pages 121-183, August.
    7. Marcel Boumans & Matthias Klaes (ed.), 2013. "Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15224, September.
    8. D Wade Hands, 2013. "GP08 is the New F53: Gul and Pesendorfer’s Methodological Essay from the Viewpoint of Blaug’s Popperian Methodology," Chapters, in: Marcel Boumans & Matthias Klaes (ed.), Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes, chapter 17, pages 245-266, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Peter Wakker & Veronika Köbberling & Christiane Schwieren, 2007. "Prospect-theory’s Diminishing Sensitivity Versus Economics’ Intrinsic Utility of Money: How the Introduction of the Euro can be Used to Disentangle the Two Empirically," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 63(3), pages 205-231, November.
    10. Rodolfo Garcia Sierra & Alvaro Zerda Sarmiento, 2016. "Hydropower Megaprojects in Colombia and the Influence of Local Communities: A View from Prospect Theory to Decision Making Process based on Expert Judgment used in Large Organizations," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 6(3), pages 408-420.
    11. van den Bergh, J.C.J.M. & Botzen, W.J.W., 2015. "Monetary valuation of the social cost of CO2 emissions: A critical survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 33-46.
    12. Carter, Steven & McBride, Michael, 2013. "Experienced utility versus decision utility: Putting the ‘S’ in satisfaction," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 13-23.
    13. Simone Cerreia‐Vioglio & David Dillenberger & Pietro Ortoleva, 2015. "Cautious Expected Utility and the Certainty Effect," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 693-728, March.
    14. Foster, Gigi & Frijters, Paul & Schaffner, Markus & Torgler, Benno, 2018. "Expectation formation in an evolving game of uncertainty: New experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 379-405.
    15. Theresa Michl & Stefan Taing, 2010. "An Economic and Neuroscientific Comparison of Strategic Decision-making," Chapters, in: Angela A. Stanton & Mellani Day & Isabell M. Welpe (ed.), Neuroeconomics and the Firm, chapter 10, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Thomas Epper & Helga Fehr-Duda, 2012. "The missing link: unifying risk taking and time discounting," ECON - Working Papers 096, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2018.
    17. Che-Yuan Liang, 2017. "Optimal inequality behind the veil of ignorance," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 83(3), pages 431-455, October.
    18. Phillips Peter J. & Pohl Gabriela, 2018. "The Deferral of Attacks: SP/A Theory as a Model of Terrorist Choice when Losses Are Inevitable," Open Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 71-85, February.
    19. Ranoua Bouchouicha & Peter Martinsson & Haileselassie Medhin & Ferdinand M. Vieider, 2017. "Stake effects on ambiguity attitudes for gains and losses," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 19-35, June.
    20. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preferences; Utility; Behavioural economics; Behaviourism;
    All these keywords.

    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

    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:mil:wpdepa:2017-05. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/damilit.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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: DEMM Working Papers The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask DEMM Working Papers to update the entry or send us the correct address (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/damilit.html .

    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.