Homo Economicus

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Homo Economicus

A person that desires to maximize his/her needs or desires. Homo economicus is used most of the time to refer to the rational economic actor, who desires wealth, does not desire to work if it can be avoided, and is able to find ways achieve those ends. This assumption is accepted by many economists, especially those who follow rational choice theory, but it remains controversial. The concept of homo economicus was developed by utilitarian thinkers, and contrasts with the constructs of behavioral economics.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nell (1975) Rational Economic Man: A Philosophical Critique of NeoClassical Economics, Cambridge University Press, London.
To use an extreme example, with only the rational economic man model of human nature, it is not possible to utter a moral condemnation of murderers.
Hewitson, Feminist Economics: Interrogating the Masculinity of Rational Economic Man, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 1999.
First, leading economists such as Smith, Ricarrdo, Marx, Keynes, Hayek, Simon, and Coase, all failed to incorporate the standard picture of 'rational economic man' in their writings and expressed profound misgivings about his behavior.
(1975), Rational Economic Man -- A Philosophical Critique of Neo-classical Economics, Cambridge University Press, London.
According to conventional wisdom, neither naturalism nor holism can be applied to economics, for the core of economics, the theory of the rational economic man, is ruthlessly individualistic, and few if any economic theories are well-confirmed or provide causal explanations of economic events.
She finds neoclassical economics antithetical to feminist analysis: "To twist one of neoclassical economics' most popular metaphors, the theory's invisible hand has kept a very tight grip - if not a stranglehold - on the credibility of feminist explanations of women's unequal status in the marketplace of economic ideas." In essence, the theory holds that everyone acts in his [sic] own self-interest, as a so-called "rational economic man," making rational choices within constraints (such as the current distribution of income), in order to maximize utility (as consumers) or profits (as business owners).
50-60; Partha Dasgupta, An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); "Rational Economic Man: The Human Factor," The Economist, December 24, 1994, pp.
Among those myths which need dispelling is the popular contention of the profit motive as the sole or dominating motivation factor directing business activity and the rational economic man model of human nature.

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