Robert Sugden: "Reconciling normative and behavioural economics without assuming an inner rational agent"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Zoom (contact Mattias Forsgren for link)
  • Lecturer: Robert Sugden, School of Economics, University of East Anglia
  • Organiser: Department of Psychology, Division of Perception and Cognition
  • Contact person: Mattias Forsgren
  • Seminarium

Neoclassical economics assumes that individuals have stable and context-independent preferences, and uses preference-satisfaction as a normative criterion.  By calling this assumption into question, behavioural findings cause fundamental problems for normative economics.  A common response to these problems is to treat deviations from conventional rational-choice theory as mistakes, and to try to reconstruct the preferences that individuals would have acted on, had they reasoned correctly.  I argue that his approach implicitly uses a dualistic model of the human being, in which an inner rational agent is trapped in an outer psychological shell.  This model is psychologically and philosophically problematic.  I propose an alternative approach in which the normative criterion is the existence of opportunities for voluntary transactions between individuals.

Last modified: 2023-10-26