Homo economicus

Homo economicus 2018-02-09T11:39:30+00:00

The term homo economicus, or ‘economic man’, denotes a view of humans in the social sciences, particularly economics, as self-interested agents who seek optimal, utility-maximizing outcomes. Behavioral economists and most psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists are critical of the concept. People are not always self-interested, nor do they have consistent preferences or be mainly concerned about maximizing benefits and minimizing costs. We may make decisions with insufficient knowledge, feedback, and processing capability (bounded rationality); we overlook and are constrained by uncertainty; and our preferences change, often in response to changes in context and to noting others’ preferences.


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