Is Behavioral Economics Doomed?: The Ordinary versus the Extraordinary

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Open Book Publishers, 2012 - Business & Economics - 152 pages
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It is fashionable to criticize economic theory for focusing too much on rationality and ignoring the imperfect and emotional way in which real economic decisions are reached. All of us facing the global economic crisis wonder just how rational economic men and women can be. Behavioral economics – an effort to incorporate psychological ideas into economics – has become all the rage.

This book by well-known economist David K. Levine questions the idea that behavioral economics is the answer to economic problems. It explores the successes and failures of contemporary economics both inside and outside the laboratory. It then asks whether popular behavioral theories of psychological biases are solutions to the failures. It not only provides an overview of popular behavioral theories and their history, but also gives the reader the tools for scrutinizing them.

Levine’s book is essential reading for students and teachers of economic theory and anyone interested in the psychology of economics.

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About the author (2012)

David K. Levine is John H. Biggs Distinguished Professor of Economics at Washington University in St. Louis. He is currently serving as President of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory. He is also a fellow of the Econometric Society, an Economic Theory Fellow, a research associate of the NBER, and of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, managing editor of NAJ Economics, and co-director of the MISSEL laboratory. His scientific research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. He is the author of Against Intellectual Monopoly (with Michele Boldrin) and Learning in Games (with Drew Fudenberg) and the editor of several conference volumes. He has published extensively in professional journals, including The American Economic Review, Econometrica, The Review of Economic Studies, The Journal of Political Economy, The Journal of Economic Theory, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, and The American Political Science Review.

Levine's current research interests include the study of intellectual property and endogenous growth in dynamic general equilibrium models, models of self-control, of the endogenous formation of preferences, institutions and social norms, learning in games, evolutionary game theory, virtual economies, and the application of game theory to experimental economics. At the graduate level, his teaching focuses on economic dynamics; at the undergraduate level, he teaches intermediate level microeconomics, focusing largely on elementary game theory.

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