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What Separates Psychology and Economics

Yesterday I posted a link to the Michael Lewis profile/review of Daniel Kahneman’s new book. Since yesterday I’ve repeated this little nugget on how Kahneman discovered behavioral economics three times and thought it was worth sharing:

I can still recite its [a 1970s paper on the psychological assumptions of economic theory] first sentence: “The agent of economic theory is rational, selfish, and his tastes do not change.”

I was astonished. My economic colleagues worked in the building next door, but I had not appreciated the profound difference between our intellectual worlds. To a psychologist, it is self-evident that people are neither fully rational nor completely selfish, and that their tastes are anything but stable.

It’s a nice way to think about the difference between psychology and economics.

November 9, 2011 // This post is about: , ,

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