Behavioral Economics: A History by Heukelom F.

By Heukelom F.

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Extra info for Behavioral Economics: A History

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Leonard “Jimmie” Savage understood the axioms in the mathematical tradition of von Neumann as summarizing rational behavior on a higher than purely descriptive level. Milton Friedman understood the axioms in the Millian tradition as characterizations of economic behavior. Savage and Friedman briefly collaborated on a further application of the von NeumannMorgenstern approach to economics. They could do so because the mathematical and economic interpretations were not unlike each other, as set out in Chapter 1.

Rational behavior was characterized by the following set of axioms. We consider a system U of entities u, v, w, . . In U a relation is given, u > v, and for any number α, (0 < α < 1), an operation αu + (1 – α)v = w These concepts satisfy the following axioms: (A) u > v is a complete ordering of U. This means: Write u < v when v > u. Then: (A:a) For any two u, v one and only one of the three following relations holds: u = v, u > v, u < v. (A:b) u > v, v > w imply u > w. (B) Ordering and combining.

Economic Opposition to the von Neumann and Morgenstern 35 propositions “cannot be tested by observation” (Marschak, 1950, p. 127). ” There was no way to test whether individuals indeed are tolerably rational: “The difficulties [of testing whether someone is tolerably rational] are obvious and stem from the economist’s inability to make experiments” (Marschak, 1950, p. 127). Like both von Neumann and Morgenstern (2004 [1944]) and Friedman and Savage (1948), Marschak argued that the behavioral postulates had to be based on intuition, or “immediate plausibility,” and summarized observable behavior: “[We] desire to avoid behavior postulates which are neither immediately plausible nor show themselves as approximated by easily observable action” (Marschak, 1950, p.

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Behavioral Economics: A History by Heukelom F.
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