More-is-better ideals such as these have long shaped our vision of rationality. Yet humans and other animals typically rely on simple heuristics to solve adaptive problems, focusing on one or a few important cues and ignoring the rest, and shortcutting computation rather than striving for as much as possible.
In this lecture, Konstantinos Katsikopoulos presents the concept of bounded rationality and contrasts two - as he calls it - cultures of research and analysis within Behavioral Economics: an "idealistic" and a "pragmatic" approach. Thereby, Katsikopoulos discusses amongst others their different assumptions on decision making (utility optimization vs. achievement of a satisfactory outcome), the psychological process as well as the epistemic aim and implications on policy recommendations (nudging vs. education).
In this interview Gerd Gigerenzer place bounded rationality into the context of a larger development in thinking about what rationality is He touches on unbounded rationality which remains overrepresented and popular in neoclassical economics he explains different interpretations of bounded rationality and concludes with an ecological interpretation of rationality He …
How do people make decisions? There is a class of models in psychology which seek to answer this question but have received scant attention in economics despite some clear empirical successes. In a previous post I discussed one of these, Decision by Sampling, and this post will look at another: the so-called Fast and Frugal heuristics pioneered by the German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer. Here the individual seeks out sufficient information to make a reasonable decision. They are ‘fast’ because they do not require massive computational effort to make a decision so can be done in seconds, and they are ‘frugal’ because they use as little information as possible to make the decision effectively.
Is our knowledge of the world essentially rational What does it mean to be burdened with the gift of rationality Philosopher Corine Besson considers the nature of humanity s defining trait Corine Besson iai University of Sussex
Caring activities are one central element of feminist economists' analysis – also since in particular unremunerated work is a blind spot in mainstream economics and most other economic paradigms. Those focus on the market sphere: activities are considered as productive and as real labour if they are remunerated and market-intermediated. Goods and services are considered as labour if they create a value which can be traded on the market. Feminist Economics remarks that this perspective creates certain dichotomies and consequent devaluations: unproductive – productive; private – public; unpaid – remunerated OR paid less – well paid; female – male; soft work – hard work; caring – rationality.
When Santa Fe Institute Scientists first started working on economics more than thirty years ago, many of their insights, approaches, and tools were considered beyond heterodox. These once-disparaged approaches included network economics, agents of limited rationality, and institutional evolution—all topics that are now increasingly considered mainstream.
This paper starts with an evaluation of three common arguments against pluralism in economics: (1) the claim that economics is already pluralist, (2) the argument that if there was the need for greater plurality, it would emerge on its own, and (3) the assertion that pluralism means ‘anything goes’ and is thus unscientific. Pluralist responses to all three arguments are summarized. The third argument is identified to relate to a greater challenge for pluralism: an epistemological trade-off between diversity and consensus that suggests moving from a discussion about ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ towards a discussion about the adequate degree of plurality. We instantiate the trade-off by showing how it originates from two main challenges: the need to derive adequate quality criteria for a pluralist economics, and the necessity to propose strategies that ensure the communication across different research programs. The paper concludes with some strategies to meet these challenges.
Neoclassical economics focuses on the allocation of scarce resources. Economic analysis is mainly concerned with determining the efficient allocation of resources in order to increase welfare.
Behavioural economics deals with observing behaviour and economic decision making behaviour.
As opposed to the conventional over-simplified assumption of self-interested individuals, strong evidence points towards the presence of heterogeneous other-regarding preferences in agents. Incorporating social preferences – specifically, trust and reciprocity - and recognizing the non-constancy of these preferences across individuals can help models better represent the reality.
Politics as supermarket? Or how current policy design changes the relationship between the state and its citizens
What are the implications of the politics of "behavioural change"? Alexander Feldmann took a closer look for you on nudging and framing and if this is a legitimate instrument being used by the state to make us behave better in terms of our carbon footprint.
By conducting a discourse analysis (SKAD) in the field of academic economics textbooks, this paper aims at reconstructing frames and identity options offered to undergraduate students relating to the questions ‘Why study economics?’ and ‘Who do I become by studying economics?’. The analysis showed three major frames and respective identity offerings, all of which are contextualized theoretically, with prominent reference to the Foucauldian reflection of the science of Political Economy. Surprisingly, none of them encourages the student to think critically, as could have been expected in a pedagogical context. Taken together, economics textbooks appear as a “total structure of actions brought to bear upon possible action” (Foucault), therefore, as a genuine example of Foucauldian power structures.
This syllabus provides an overview of the contents of the course "Understanding Economic Models" at the University of Helsinki.
This syllabus provides an overview of the contents of the course "The Philosophy and Methodology of Economics" at the Duke University
Complexity economics focuses on interactions and interdependencies between individuals and structures in economic systems. Those are systems of organised complexity. High importance is given to the analysis of networks.
Participants should be able to distinguish the strictly non-cooperative (methodological individualist) foundations of traditional neoclassical economics as being couched in self-interested individuals, as well as having basic knowledge of an alternative set of theories based on the primacy cooperation and social norms and extending the breadth of economic analysis beyond exchange.
As seen with the United Nations significant promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the past few years, the issue of global development is of growing concern to many international organizations. As humanity continues to become more interconnected through globalization, the inequalities and injustices experienced by inhabitants of impacted countries becomes increasingly clear. While this issue can be observed in the papers of different types (e.g., different schools of thought) of economists throughout the world, the work of behavioral and complexity economists offer a unique, collaborative perspective on how to frame decisions for individuals in a way that can positively reverberate throughout society and throughout time.
A historical glimpse of how economists of the 19th century debated the usefulness of mathematics to economics
In the history of the social sciences, few individuals have exerted as much influence as has Jeremy Bentham. His attempt to become “the Newton of morals” has left a marked impression upon the methodology and form of analysis that social sciences like economics and political science have chosen as modus operandi.
Health Economics traditionally involves two distinct strands. One focuses on the application of core neoclassical economic theories of the firm, the consumer and the market to health-seeking behaviour and other health issues. It suggests a role for government intervention only in the case of specific market failures (for example externalities, asymmetric information, moral hazard, and public goods) that distort market outcomes. The second strand is evaluation techniques, used to assess the cost effectiveness of competing health interventions.
This is a great book Against the background of the dogmatism of much of modern economics Fullbrook has produced an innovative wide ranging argument for narrative pluralism The timely book is beautifully written accessible to all provocative extraordinarily insightful and extremely compelling Tony Lawson Cambridge University UK This fascinating and …
Evolutionary economics focuses on economic change. Hence processes of change such as growth, innovation, structural and technological change, as well as economic development in general are analysed. Evolutionary economics often gives emphasis to populations and (sub-)systems.
How can we establish new institutions and practices in order to use fare-free public transport as a beacon for sustainable mobility and a low-carbon lifestyle? The author of this essay elaborates on how practice theory and institutional economics can help to answer this question.
This article, looks at the complex interaction between an urban economy and the vegetation within that urban area. In summary, numerous studies have found a positive link between increased vegetation and social as well as personal health. It makes a case for increasing urban vegetation as a way to benefit local economies.
When we have to make a decision, we consider all the pros and cons, try to gather a lot of information and estimate what consequences this decision might have. And then we make an (at least somewhat) rational decision. Or do we?
Feminist economics is a key component of the movement for pluralism in economics and one that has, to some extent, been acknowledged by the mainstream of the profession. It seeks to highlight issues which affect women because (it claims) they have not traditionally been recognised in a field dominated by men. On top of this, it seeks to carve out a space for women in the discipline, both for intrinsic reasons of fairness and diversity and because it means that women’s issues are more likely to be highlighted going forward.
In the pluralist showcase series by Rethinking Economics, Cahal Moran explores non-mainstream ideas in economics and how they are useful for explaining, understanding and predicting things in economics.
The most successful multialternative theories of decision making assume that people consider individual aspects of a choice and proceed via a process of elimination. Amos Tversky was one of the pioneers of this field, but modern decision theorists – most notably Neil Stewart – have moved things forward. At the current stage the theories are able to explain a number of strictly ‘irrational’ but reasonable quirks of human decision making, including various heuristics and biases. Not only this, but eye movements of participants strongly imply that the decision-making process depicted in the theories is an accurate one.
An overview of the last century economic theories asking what makes a heterodox economist. This lecture focuses on the evolution of the various academic traditions in economics. Lavoie presents his own typology for categorising seminal work within the post-Keynesian tradition while leaving space to acknowledge that categories are not binary, but can be used to help understand the different traditions, and how they have developed over the last decades.
The general idea of a Job Guarantee (JG) is that the government offers employment to everybody ready, willing and able to work for a living wage in the last instance as an Employer of Last Resort. The concept tackles societal needs that are not satisfied by market forces and the systemic characteristic of unemployment in capitalist societies. Being a central part of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), attention for the JG concept rose in recent years.
From the two premises that (1) economies are complex systems and (2) the accumulation of knowledge about reality is desirable, I derive the conclusion that pluralism with regard to economic research programs is a more viable position to hold than monism. To substantiate this claim an epistemological framework of how scholars study their objects of inquiry and relate their models to reality is discussed. Furthermore, it is argued that given the current institutions of our scientific system, economics self-organizes towards a state of scientific unity. Since such a state is epistemologically inferior to a state of plurality, critical intervention is desirable.