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Reconciling Normative and Behavioural Economics: The Problem that Cannot be Solved

Guilhem Lecouteux ()

No 2021-27, GREDEG Working Papers from Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France

Abstract: Behavioural economics has challenged the normative consensus that agents ought to choose following their own preferences. I argue that normative economists implicitly defended a criterion of the sovereignty of the autonomous consumer, and that current debates in normative behavioural economics arise from disagreements about the nature of the threats to autonomy that are highlighted by behavioural economics. I argue that those disagreements result from diverging ontological conceptions of the ‘self’ in the literature. I distinguish between the unitary, psychodynamic, and socio-historical conceptions of the self, and show how different positive theories about preferences and the nature of the agent may determine normative positions in normative behavioural economics.

Keywords: preference satisfaction; autonomy; welfare; reconciliation problem; sociohistorical self (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B40 D02 D60 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2021-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cwa, nep-evo, nep-hme, nep-hpe, nep-pke and nep-upt
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