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Aggregate effects of behavioral anomalies: A new research area

  • Frey, Bruno S.
  • Gallus, Jana

Much recent research in economics focuses on exploring behavioral anomalies, i.e., systematic deviations from the assumptions of the rationally self-interested model of man. Laboratory studies are used to identify seeming inconsistencies with micro-economic theory on the level of individuals. Since economics is a social science, this article proposes that the next crucial step consists in shifting the focus to the macro-level. It examines the process through which behavioral anomalies are aggregated to a societal outcome. Since individuals are reactive when they interact with others and face institutional constraints, the aggregation process may lead to different outcomes than what has been observed in individual-level studies: the respective anomalies may disappear, or they may become stronger on the macro-level. The discussion demonstrates that there are a great number of aspects to be analyzed. The paper presents fragments of what could become a more extensive field of research.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 2013-51.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:201351
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