Date of Award
Tracy Mott, Ph.D.
Marco Nathan, Ph.D.
Akratic behaviors, Addiction, Neoclassical economic theory
Neoclassical economic theory has long been scrutinized for its failure to be congruent with reality, often lacking generality and tractability due to, what many critics argue to be, unrealistic assumptions. One of the theory's core suppositions is a representative "rational agent" or homo economicus, whose self-interest and optimal choices, which are in state of equilibrium and efficiency are rooted in utility maximization of his well-being. Even though neoclassical economics claims to accurately depict human nature, from its very inception it has failed to incorporate human psychology and sociology into its foundations. As the behavioral and biological research became more robust in the 20th and 21st centuries, it began to provide evidence against some of theory's core questionable and often unsubstantiated claims. The paper intends to demonstrate a flaw in the "human rationality" assumption of the standard economic theory by exploring the phenomenon of addiction as one of the akratic behaviors that is often exhibited by human beings in the real world. This paper will focus on providing a brief overview and juxtaposition the Rational Choice and Rational Addiction models against assumptions and conclusions of the "picoeconomic" approach to explore the concepts of rational versus akratic behaviors in an attempt to evaluate whether these theories are capable of systematically explaining addictive tendencies of an "economic man."
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Logachev, Marina, "Akratic Homo Economicus: Does the Neoclassical Economic Theory "Rational Agent" Assumption Accurately Depict Human Nature?" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1098.
Received from ProQuest