Behavioral Political Economy: A Survey

Posted: 5 Feb 2014 Last revised: 25 Apr 2015

See all articles by Jan Schnellenbach

Jan Schnellenbach

BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Institute for Economics, Chair for Microeconomics; Walter Eucken Institute

Christian Schubert

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 13, 2015

Abstract

In explaining individual behavior in politics, economists should rely on the same motivational assumptions they use to explain behavior in the market: That is what Political Economy, understood as the application of economics to the study of political processes, is all about. In its standard variant, individuals who play the game of politics should also be considered rational and self-interested, unlike the benevolent despot of traditional welfare economics. History repeats itself with the rise of behavioral economics: Assuming cognitive biases to be present in the market, but not in politics, behavioral economists often call for government to intervene in a “benevolent” way. Recently, however, political economists have started to apply behavioral economics insights to the study of political processes, thereby re-establishing a unified methodology. This paper surveys the current state of the emerging field of “Behavioral Political Economy” and considers the scope for further research.

Keywords: Behavioral Political Economy; Behavioral Economics; Rational Irrationality; Cognitive Biases; Social Norms; Voting; Paternalism.

JEL Classification: D78, D03, A12, D72

Suggested Citation

Schnellenbach, Jan and Schubert, Christian, Behavioral Political Economy: A Survey (April 13, 2015). European Journal of Political Economy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2390290 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2390290

Jan Schnellenbach (Contact Author)

BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Institute for Economics, Chair for Microeconomics ( email )

Erich-Weinert-Str. 1
Cottbus, 03046
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.b-tu.de/fg-vwl-mikro/team/prof-dr-jan-schnellenbach

Walter Eucken Institute ( email )

Goethestr. 10
Freiburg, 79100
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.eucken.de

Christian Schubert

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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