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The Homer economicus narrative: from cognitive psychology to individual public policies

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Abstract

A common narrative among some behavioural economists and policy makers is that experimental psychology highlights that individuals are more like Homer Simpson than the Mr Spock imagined by neoclassical economics, and that this justifies policies aiming to ‘correct’ individual behaviours. This narrative is central to nudging policies and suggests that a better understanding of individual cognition will lead to better policy prescriptions. I argue that this Homer economicus narrative is methodologically flawed, and that its emphasis on cognition advances a distorted view of public policies consisting in fixing malfunctioning individuals, while ignoring the possibly malfunctioning environment within which they evolve.
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Dates and versions

hal-03791951 , version 1 (29-09-2022)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03791951 , version 1

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Guilhem Lecouteux. The Homer economicus narrative: from cognitive psychology to individual public policies. 2022. ⟨hal-03791951⟩
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