Neuroeconomics as a Natural Extension of Bioeconomics: The Shifting Scope of Standard Economic Theory

Posted: 13 Nov 2010

See all articles by Jack J. Vromen

Jack J. Vromen

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE)

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

Neuroeconomics rightly has been claimed to be a natural extension of bioeconomics. One of the things bioeconomics investigates is what behavioral dispositions and what behavioral patterns evolutionary processes have produced. Neuroeconomics extends this to the study of evolved mechanisms that are at work in decision-making at the neural level of the brain. The paper argues that in another respect neuroeconomics and bioeconomics are discontinuous, however. Bioeconomics maintains that the applicability of standard economic theory’s constrained maximization framework is not confined to human behavior. The constrained maximization framework is believed to be suitable to describe behavior throughout the animal kingdom. By contrast, despite some minor internal disagreements all neuroeconomists seem to agree that human behavior is predicted poorly by standard economic theory in several social and economic situations. Neuroscience is believed to hold out the hope of an advanced understanding of when and why this is the case.

Keywords: constrained maximization, evolutionary biology, natural selection, neuroscience

JEL Classification: A12, B25, B52

Suggested Citation

Vromen, Jack J., Neuroeconomics as a Natural Extension of Bioeconomics: The Shifting Scope of Standard Economic Theory (2007). Journal of Bioeconomics, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1706756

Jack J. Vromen (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
EIPE Office, Room H5-23
3000 Dr Rotterdam
Netherlands

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