Books et al.Economics

Irrational actors

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Science  05 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6239, pp. 1099
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab1365

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In Misbehaving, economist Richard Thaler maintains that most economists stubbornly cling "to an imaginary world" full of cold-blooded, shrewd optimizers. Real humans, he argues, are routinely gripped by biases and errors of passion—factors not accounted for by conventional economic theory. Reviewer Andrew J. Oswald acknowledges the merits of this argument, but reminds readers that the current battle between conventional and behavioral economics is part of the natural evolution of scientific theory.