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The economic consequences of homo economicus: neoclassical economic theory and the fallacy of market optimality

David Calnitsky () and Asher Dupuy-Spencer ()
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David Calnitsky: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Asher Dupuy-Spencer: CUNY Graduate Center

The Journal of Philosophical Economics, 2013, vol. 6, issue 2

Abstract: This essay presents a critique of the standard ascension from the rational agent to the optimal market in economic theory. Critiques of homo economicus are found unsatisfactory on grounds that its employment allows for the prediction of essential features of actual markets. Using this same criterion we introduce Gary Becker’s essay, ‘Irrational Behavior and Economic Theory,’ which demonstrated that the same features of markets could be derived from non-rational behaviour. Thus, non-rationality is equally predictive but is less restrictive than rationality. Once the assumption of rationality is relaxed, the concept of market optimality (though not market order) must also be sacrificed.

Keywords: neoclassical economics; rationality; philosophy of social science (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D01 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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