Experimental economics after the demolition job on theory

By David Hugh-Jones

The front cover of Richard Thaler’s autobiography Misbehaving shows a single bird, looking quizzically at a huge flock of birds who are all flying in the same direction. It’s a metaphor for behavioural economics. The single bird is the lone behaviourist; the flock is the economic theorists who all think the same way. And indeed, the book is a story of conflicts in which standard economic theory and presuppositions turned out to be wrong.

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