Foundations of Behavioral and Experimental Economics: Daniel Kahneman and Vernon Smith
Advanced information on the Prize in Economic Sciences 2002. Until recently, economics was widely regarded as a non-experimental science that had to rely on observation of real-world economies rather than controlled laboratory experiments. Many commentators also found restrictive the common assumption of a homo oeconomicus motivated by self-interest and capable of making rational decisions. But research in economics has taken off in new directions. A large and growing body of scientific work is now devoted to the empirical testing and modification of traditional postulates in economics, in particular those of unbounded rationality, pure self-interest, and complete self-control. Moreover, today's research increasingly relies on new data from laboratory experiments rather than on more traditional field data, that is, data obtained from observations of real economies. This recent research has its roots in two distinct, but converging, traditions: theoretical and empirical studies of human decision-making in cognitive psychology, and tests of predictions from economic theory by way of laboratory experiments. Today, behavioral economics and experimental economics are among the most active fields in economics, as measured by publications in major journals, new doctoral dissertations, seminars, workshops and conferences. This year's laureates are pioneers of these two fields of research.
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