An Economic Approach to the Self: The Dual Agent

13 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2011 Last revised: 14 Oct 2019

See all articles by Aïleen Lotz

Aïleen Lotz

Cerca Trova, Grenoble, France

Date Written: October 15, 2013


This paper extends the notion of the rational agent in economics by acknowledging the role of the unconscious in the agent's decision-making process. It argues that the unconscious can be modelled by a rational agent with his own objective function and set of information. The combination of both the conscious and unconscious agents is called the dual agent. This dual agent presents rationally biased behaviors that may persist through aggregation and could be potentially measured. It also provides a theoretical approach to the emotionally-driven actions.

Keywords: rational agent, decision-making, conscious and unconscious asymmetry of information, imperfect information, dual agent, theory of emotions, substantive and procedural rationality, psychology, bias

JEL Classification: B41, D01, D81, D82

Suggested Citation

Lotz, Aïleen, An Economic Approach to the Self: The Dual Agent (October 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Aïleen Lotz (Contact Author)

Cerca Trova, Grenoble, France ( email )


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