Individual autonomy (or self-determination) is increasingly treated by economists as a dimension of value, complementary with welfare, efficiency and distributional equality. Many contributors to this literature acknowledge Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory as providing psychological foundations for the concepts of intrinsic motivation and autonomy. In a critical examination of that theory, I argue that its intrinsic/extrinsic categorisation of motivations and its emphasis on self-realisation do not properly recognise the ways in which individuals can find satisfaction in being useful to one another. If market transactions are viewed through the lens of self-determination theory, their moral content can be obscured.
|Review of Behavioral Economics
|Accepted/In press - 10 Jan 2024
- self-determination theoty