Behavioural Economics

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A relational critique of Behavioural Economics

By Mark Earls:

"Behavioural Economics is a response - a step on - from the old rational agent model of human behaviour. It conceptualises humans not as rational agents who accurately perceive the world around them and act appropriately but as faulty agents, with lazy minds (as Kahnemann puts it) - with built-in quirks and biases in our perceptional machinery.

But - and here's the big thing - it still views humans as at heart independent agents; human behaviour as grounded fundamentally at the level of individuals.

Of course, BE represents a big improvement on the old model and we'd all do well to get a grip on the insights it offers and I can see how much easier it is to slip from rational agent models to the kind of faulty agent models implied by BE...but let's be honest: it's only half way to a proper rethink.

The real breakthrough is likely to come from starting to conceptualie humans and human behaviour as fundamentally social (not individual)." (