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A Foundation for Behavioral Economics

Jessica L. Cohen and William T. Dickens

Later Published in the American Economic Review, May 2002.

The core theory of behavior in Economics, which structures inquiry and provides a framework for empirical analysis, is largely responsible for the success of the discipline. Behavioral Economics (BE) challenges this theory, but has failed to provide a coherent alternative. Consequently the influence of BE has been limited. In what follows we argue that Evolutionary Psychology (EP), suitably adapted, can provide at least a partial foundation for BE. Its methods offer a way of generating theories of the origins of anomalous behaviors and of testing those theories.



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