Preference purification and the inner rational agent:A critique of the conventional wisdom of behavioural welfare economics

Infante, Gerardo, Lecouteux, Guilhem and Sugden, Robert (2016) Preference purification and the inner rational agent:A critique of the conventional wisdom of behavioural welfare economics. Journal of Economic Methodology, 23 (1). pp. 1-25. ISSN 1350-178X

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Abstract

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. We argue that this preference purification 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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: preference purification,inner rational agent,behavioural welfare economics,libertarian paternalism,context-dependent preferences
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2016 09:06
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2020 23:51
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/57618
DOI: 10.1080/1350178X.2015.1070527

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