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Intrinsic motivation in economics: A history

Rustam Romaniuc ()

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 2017, vol. 67, issue C, 56-64

Abstract: If one asks about the introduction of intrinsic motivation into economic analysis, a common response is The Joyless Economy (Scitovsky, 1976) and Frey's articles published in the early 1990s. These works are furthermore seen as the direct sequel to the contributions in psychology which sought to uncover the sources of motivation long before the economists started to think seriously about their economic implications. By adopting a historical perspective, I show that Scitovsky and Frey's works were rather the result of two specific episodes in economics: the revived interest in actual needs and desires for the first and the expansionist ambitions of economists for the second. The behaviors they considered and the interpretations they respectively proposed for intrinsic motivation illustrate the influence of these two episodes. As such, this article proposes a new perspective on the relationship between economics and psychology.

Keywords: Intrinsic motivation; Self-interest; Public interest; Tibor Scitovsky; Bruno Frey (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A12 A13 B21 D03 D64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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