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Economics, psychology and the history of consumer choice theory

By D. Wade Hands

Abstract

This paper examines elements of the complex place/role/influence of psychology in the history of consumer choice theory. The paper reviews, and then challenges, the standard narrative that psychology was 'in' consumer choice theory early in the neoclassical revolution, then strictly 'out' during the ordinal and revealed preference revolutions, now (possibly) back in with recent developments in experimental, behavioural and neuroeconomics. The paper uses the work of three particular economic theorists to challenge this standard narrative and then provides an alternative interpretation of the history of the relationship between psychology and consumer choice theory. Copyright The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Cambridge Political Economy Society. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

DOI identifier: 10.1093/cje/bep045
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