Economics Imperialism Under the Impact of Psychology: The Case of Behavioral Development Economics

John B. Davis

Marquette University; University of Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute

September 27, 2012

Economics imperialism is broadly explained as economics having an impact on other disciplines. But how should economics imperialism be understood when it is in some sense the product of other disciplines having an impact on economics? The paper examines psychology’s impact on economics in connection with the emergence of behavioral development economics, and then discusses the nature of behavioral development economics imperialism associated with development economists’ explanations of non-market dimensions of life in developing economies in behavioral economics terms. The paper argues that this new form of economics imperialism reflects economics’ selective appropriation from psychology of the Kahneman-Tversky heuristics and biases view of choice behavior and rejection of the Gigerenzer-ABC group fast and frugal heuristics view. This selective appropriation, however, causes behavioral development economics imperialism to also function as a social and cultural imperialism since its utility theory-based policy recommendations impose liberal society economic values on developing economy societies. Thus recent economics-plus-psychology imperialism might be said to function as social science imperialism under the leadership of economics.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: economics imperialism, choice heuristics, behavioral development economics

JEL Classification: A14, O10, B2, B41

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Date posted: September 27, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Davis, John B., Economics Imperialism Under the Impact of Psychology: The Case of Behavioral Development Economics (September 27, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2153090 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2153090

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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