Behavioral Economics

Authored by: Conrad Heilmann

The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Social Science

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138825758
eBook ISBN: 9781315410098
Adobe ISBN: 9781315410081


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Anyone who has recently browsed in a bookstore’s economics section and seen titles by Daniel Kahneman or Dan Ariely—or has read reviews of their books in newspapers or magazines—indeed anyone with a passing interest in economics at all—would be forgiven for coming away with the impression that behavioral economics is brand new. There is considerable buzz in popular media around the idea that economists might not be limited to building highly idealized models of rational agents after all. They are now, apparently, also modeling irrational behavior, investigating how individuals really make decisions, have dispensed with the assumption of perfectly rational maximizers, and are using a broad range of empirical tools, such as lab and field experiments. Behavioral economics, the “runaway success story in modern economics” (Angner 2015, 3557), is catching the attention of the general public, forms one of the most thriving sub-branches of the “economics made fun” genre (Vromen 2009), and has been building an influential branch of policy advice by implementing insights from behavioral economics in what is called “libertarian paternalism” or “nudge” (Thaler and Sunstein 2008).

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