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Identity and Individual Economic Agents: A Narrative Approach

John B. Davis

Marquette University; University of Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute

June 25, 2008

This paper offers an account of how individuals act as agents when we employ a narrative approach to explaining their personal identities. It applies Korsgaard's idea of a "reflective structure of consciousness" to provide foundations for a richer account of the individual economic agent, and uses this to explain and distinguish the concepts of personal identity, individual identity, and social identity. The paper argues that individuals' personal identities may be in conflict with their socially constructed individual identities. Individuals' social identities are represented as a link between personal identity and individual identity. The overall framework is proposed as an alternative to the atomistic individual conception and a contribution to the socially embedded individual conception.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 29

Keywords: individuals, personal identity, Korsgaard, individual identity, social identity, Livet, social scaffolding

JEL Classification: B40, A13

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Date posted: June 26, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Davis, John B., Identity and Individual Economic Agents: A Narrative Approach (June 25, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1151325 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1151325

Contact Information

John B. Davis (Contact Author)
Marquette University ( email )
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
United States
University of Amsterdam ( email )
Tinbergen Institute ( email )
Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
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References:  22
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