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Economics, Psychology and the History of Consumer Choice Theory

D. Wade Hands

University of Puget Sound - Department of Economics

April 2009

Cambridge Journal of Economics, Forthcoming

This paper examines elements of the complex place/role/influence of psychology in the history of consumer choice theory. The paper reviews, and then challenges, the standard narrative that psychology was "in" consumer choice theory early in the neoclassical revolution, then strictly "out" during the ordinal and revealed preference revolutions, now (possibly) back in with recent developments in experimental, behavioral, and neuroeconomics. The paper uses the work of particular economic theorists to challenge this standard narrative and then provides an alternative interpretation of the relationship between psychology and consumer choice theory. It concludes by discussing some of the implications of this complex history.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: Psychology, Demand Theory, Consumer Choice Theory, Behavioral Economics

JEL Classification: A12, B13, B21, B4, D11

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Date posted: May 23, 2007 ; Last revised: July 23, 2009

Suggested Citation

Hands, D. Wade, Economics, Psychology and the History of Consumer Choice Theory (April 2009). Cambridge Journal of Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=988125

Contact Information

D. Wade Hands (Contact Author)
University of Puget Sound - Department of Economics ( email )
Tacoma, WA 98416
Feedback to SSRN

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