Homo Economicus and Homo Stramineus

Marek Hudík

Charles University in Prague - Center for Theoretical Study

September 15, 2012

Prague Economic Papers, 24(2) 2015: 154-172.

The model of Homo economicus has often been criticized as unrealistic. In particular, it has been found lacking for allegedly assuming that people are selfish, an assumption which is contradicted by both introspection and empirical evidence. The aim of this paper is to show that never in the history of the economic discipline has selfishness constituted the core of the Homo economicus model. In fact, the standard economic model of behaviour which has been used by economists for more than a hundred years is reticent about the motives of behaviour. Critics thus do not criticize Homo economicus but a straw man – Homo stramineus. Three possible reasons for confusing Homo economicus with Homo stramineus are identified: malicious intent, ignorance and an attempt to avoid the tautological model of behaviour.

Keywords: Homo economicus, Self-interest, Desire of wealth, Utility, Rationality

JEL Classification: B12, B13, B21, B41, D01

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Date posted: September 16, 2012 ; Last revised: July 23, 2015

Suggested Citation

Hudík, Marek, Homo Economicus and Homo Stramineus (September 15, 2012). Prague Economic Papers, 24(2) 2015: 154-172.. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2147205 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2147205

Contact Information

Marek Hudik (Contact Author)
Charles University in Prague - Center for Theoretical Study ( email )
Jilská st. 1
Prague, 110 00
Czech Republic
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