International Economic Association Psychology, rationality and economic behaviour Challenging standard assumptions

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Economics has paid little attention to the psychology of economic behaviour, leading to somewhat simplistic assumptions about human nature. The psychological aspects have typically been reduced to standard utility theory, based on a narrow conception of rationality and self-interest maximization. The studies in this volume, some focused on analytical models and methodology, others on laboratory and field experiments, challenge standard economic assumptions - in particular the assumption of Homo economicus - and provide novel and complex understandings of human motivation and economic decision-making. They cover a wide range of aspects, including the role of self confidence, learning, altruism, inequality aversion, money illusion and notions of justice and fairness in explaining economic behaviour in a variety of contexts - the family, the community and the workplace. On the one hand, the contributors provide extensions, developments, and new proofs of psychological ideas by using the tools of economics (game theory, principal-agent theory, inter-temporal maximization, and so on). On the other hand, these studies have the potential for influencing other disciplines, thus progressively broadening the scope of inter-disciplinary exchange. Some even view this ongoing process of innovation in economic theory as a paradigmatic shift. With a pioneering introduction by the book's two editors, this volume brings together exciting new contributions to a field that is rapidly growing in influence and reach. 
Biblio Notes

Originally published in: 2005.

Introduction-- B.Agarwal & A.Vercelli PART 1: ANALYTICAL MODELS AND METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation-- R.Benabou & J.Tirole Rationality, Learning and Complexity-- A.Vercelli Altruism: Evolution and a Repercussion-- O.Stark, Y.Q.Wang & Y.Wang Human Reproduction and Utility Functions: An Evolutionary Approach-- A.Vasin Moral Hazard, Contracts and Social Preferences: A Survey-- F.Englmaier Mutual Concern, Workplace Relationships and Pay Scales-- O.Chillemi PART 2: LABORATORY AND FIELD EXPERIMENTS Expectations and the Effects of Money Illusion-- E.Fehr & J-R.Tyran Utility-Based Altruism: Evidence from Experiments-- F.Bolle & A.Kritikos Equity Judgements Elicited through Experiments: An Econometric Examination-- J.Jungeilges & T.Theisen Groups, Commons and Regulations: Experiments with Villagers and Students in Columbia-- J-C.Cardenas.


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BINA AGARWAL is Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University. Educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Delhi, she has held distinguished positions at Harvard, Minnesota, Princeton, Columbia, Michigan and Sussex. Her books include Mechanization in Indian Agriculture (1983); Cold Hearths and Barren Slopes: The Woodfuel Crises in the Third World (1986); A Field of One's Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia; and three edited volumes including the International Economics Association book, Women and Work in the World Economy (1991). During 1995-96, A Field of One's Own received the A. K. Coomaraswamy Book Prize (USA), the Edgar Graham Book Prize (UK), and the K. H. Batheja Award (India). She is Vice-President of the International Economic Association and past President of the International Association for Feminist Economics. ALESSANDRO VERCELLI is Professor of Economics at the University of Siena and has been Visiting Scholar in many other universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics, UCLA, Columbia, NYU, Sorbonne, Valencia, Campinas, Bielefeld, and Oldenburg. His books include Methodological Foundations of Macroeconomics: Keynes and Lucas (1991) Macroeconomics: A Survey of Research Strategies (with N. Dimitri, 1992), Sustainability: Dynamics and Uncertainty (with G. Chichilnisky and J. Heal, 1997), Comparing the Japanese and the Italian Economies, (with A. Boltho, and H. Yoshikawa, 2000). He obtained the Fulbright-SSRC Award on the co-ordination of economic policies (1982), the St. Vincent Prize (1987), the British Council Senior Visiting Fellowship in Italian Studies (St. Antony's College, Oxgord, 1996). He is a member of the Council of the Italian Economic Association and of the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association.

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