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Research in psychology and behavioural economics shows that individuals’ choices often depend on ‘irrelevant’ contextual factors. This presents problems for normative economics, which has traditionally used preference-satisfaction as its criterion. A common response is to claim that individuals have context-independent latent preferences which are ‘distorted’ by psychological factors, and that latent preferences should be respected. This response implicitly uses a model of human action in which each human being has an ‘inner rational agent’. I argue that this model is psychologically ungrounded. Although references to latent preferences appear in psychologically-based explanations of context-dependent choice, latent preferences serve no explanatory purpose.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Social Theory and Practice|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2015|
- inner rational agent
- behavioural welfare economics
- preference purification
- true self
- 1 Finished
Network for Intergrated Behavioural Science
Starmer, C., Turocy, T., Barr, A., Brown, G., Chater, N., Cubitt, R., Fatas, E., Gathergood, J., Gosling, S., Hargreaves-Heap, S., Lomes, G., MacKay, R., Poulsen, A., Read, D., Stewart, N., Sugden, R. & Zizzo, D.
Economic and Social Research Council
31/12/12 → 30/12/16
- 1 Article
Preference purification and the inner rational agent: A critique of the conventional wisdom of behavioural welfare economicsInfante, G., Lecouteux, G. & Sugden, R., 2016, In: Journal of Economic Methodology. 23, 1, p. 1-25 25 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile87 Citations (Scopus)18 Downloads (Pure)