Economics Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon developed the concept of bounded rationality in the 1950s. This asserts that the cognitive abilities of human decision-makers are not always sufficient to find optimal solutions to complex real-life problems, leading decision-makers to find satisfactory, sub-optimal outcomes. This was a foundational component of the development of Behavioural Economics but in recent years the two fields have diverged, each with its own literature, its own approach and its own proponents. Behavioural Economics explores the areas of commonality between Economics and Psychology, in terms of its focus and its approach, whereas the bounded rationality literature largely analyses the implications of sub-optimal decision‐making through the mathematically sophisticated methodology of mainstream Economics.
This book examines the nature and consequences of this divergence and questions whether this is a case of beneficial specialisation or whether it is unhelpful, potentially stunting the development of some aspects of Economics. It has been suggested that the major deficiency of Behavioural Economics is that it has failed to produce a single, widely applicable alternative to constrained optimisation. This book evaluates the extent to which this is the true and, if it is, the extent to which it is a product of the divergence between the two literatures. It also seeks to identify commonalities between the two subjects and suggests avenues of research in Economics that would benefit from a re-fusion of these two fields.
1. Behavioural economics and bounded rationality Chapter 2. Recent developments in the behavioural economics literature: a survey 3. Recent developments in the bounded rationality literature: a survey 4. Audiences and impact 5. Commonality and differentiation: examined and evaluated 6. Towards an abstract behavioural framework 7. Concluding thoughts
Traditionally, economists have based their analysis of financial markets and corporate finance on the assumption that agents are fully rational, emotionless, self-interested maximizers of expected utility. However, behavioural economists are increasingly recognizing that financial decision makers may be subject to psychological biases, and the effects of emotions. Examples of this include the effects on investors’ and managers’ decision-making of such biases as excessive optimism, overconfidence, confirmation bias, and illusion of control. At a practical level, the current state of the financial markets suggests that trust between investors and managers is of paramount importance.
Routledge Advances in Behavioural Economics and Finance presents innovative and cutting edge research in this fast paced and rapidly growing area, and will be of great interest to academics, practitioners, and policy-makers alike.
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