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Neuroeconomics: A Critique of ‘Neuroeconomics: A Critical Reconsideration’


  • Stanton, Angela A.


Some economists believe that neuroeconomists threatens the theory of economics. Glenn Harrison’s paper “Neuroeconomics: A Critical Reconsideration” (2008) provides some support for this view, though some of the points he makes are somewhat disguised. The field of neuroeconomics is barely into its teenage years; and it is trying to do what? Criticize and redesign the field of economics developed over hundreds of years? But that is not what neuroeconomics is trying to do, in spite of all the efforts of some economists trying to place it into that shoebox (see the argument in great detail in Andrew Caplin, Andrew Schotter 2008). Neuroeconomics is a Mendelian-Economics of sort; it is a science that is able to generate data by fixing the environment to some degree, varying a single independent variable for its affects, and is able to see each individual’s choices from initiation of the decision-making process to its outcome. Mainstream (standard) economics, on the other hand, looks at the average of the outcomes of many individuals and proposes how people chose those outcomes, retroactively. The two fields, neuroeconomics and standard economics, are evaluating two sides of the same coin: one with and the other without ceteris paribus; they are not in conflict with one another.

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  • Stanton, Angela A., 2008. "Neuroeconomics: A Critique of ‘Neuroeconomics: A Critical Reconsideration’," MPRA Paper 13957, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Mar 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13957

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2005. "The Case for Mindless Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 784828000000000581, David K. Levine.
    2. Pearson, Matthew & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2013. "Menstrual cycle and competitive bidding," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 1-20.
    3. Paul J. Zak & Karla Borja & William T. Matzner & Robert Kurzban, 2005. "The Neuroeconomics of Distrust: Sex Differences in Behavior and Physiology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 360-363, May.
    4. Williamson, Oliver E, 1993. "Calculativeness, Trust, and Economic Organization," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 453-486, April.
    5. Samuel Bowles & Robert Boyd & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Joseph Henrich & Richard McElreath, 2001. "In search of homo economicus: Experiments in 15 small-scale societies," Artefactual Field Experiments 00068, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Colin F. Camerer & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2004. "Neuroeconomics: Why Economics Needs Brains," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 555-579, October.
    7. Harrison, Glenn W., 2008. "Neuroeconomics: A Critical Reconsideration," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(03), pages 303-344, November.
    8. Henrich, Joseph & Boyd, Robert & Bowles, Samuel & Camerer, Colin & Fehr, Ernst & Gintis, Herbert (ed.), 2004. "Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence from Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199262052.
    9. Stanton, Angela A., 2007. "Neural Substrates of Decision-Making in Economic Games," MPRA Paper 4030, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Jun 2007.
    10. Zak, Paul J. & Stanton, Angela A. & Ahmadi, Sheila, 2007. "Oxytocin Increases Generosity in Humans," MPRA Paper 5650, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath & Michael Alvard & Abigail Barr & Jean Ensminger & Kim Hill & Francisco Gil-White & Micha, 2001. "Economic Man in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," Working Papers 01-11-063, Santa Fe Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Theresa Michl & Stefan Taing, 2010. "An Economic and Neuroscientific Comparison of Strategic Decision-making," Chapters,in: Neuroeconomics and the Firm, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item


    Neuroeconomics; Standard Economics; Ceteris Paribus; Hormones;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics

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