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Rationality for Economists?

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  • Daniel McFadden

Abstract

Rationality is a complex behavioral theory that can be parsed into statements about preferences, perceptions, and process. This paper looks at the evidence on rationality that is provided by behavioral experiments, and argues that most cognitive anomalies operate through errors in perception that arise from the way information is stored, retrieved, and processed, or through errors in process that lead to formulation of choice problems as cognitive tasks that are inconsistent at least with rationality narrowly defined. The paper discusses how these cognitive anomalies influence economic behavior and measurement, and their implications for economic analysis. To appear in Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel McFadden, 1998. "Rationality for Economists?," Working Papers 98-09-086, Santa Fe Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:98-09-086
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