David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Economic Methodology 18 (2):107-128 (2011)
In discussing rational choice theory (RCT) as an explanation of demand behavior, Becker (1962, Journal of Political Economy, 70, 1?13) proposed a model of random choice in which consumers pick a bundle on their budget line according to a uniform distribution. This model has then been used in various ways to assess the validity of RCT and to support as-if arguments in defense of it. This paper makes both historical and methodological contributions. Historically, it investigates how the interpretation of Becker random behavior evolved between the original 1962 article and the modern experimental literature on individual demand, and surveys six experiments in which it has been used as an alternative hypothesis to RCT. Methodologically, this paper conducts an assessment of the as-if defense of RCT from the standpoint of Becker's model. It argues that this defense is ?weak? in a number of senses, and that it has negatively influenced the design of experiments about RCT.
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Nicholas Bardsley, Robin Cubitt, Graham Loomes, Peter Moffatt, Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden (2009). Experimental Economics: Rethinking the Rules. Princeton University Press.
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Milton Friedman (1953). Essays in Positive Economics. University of Chicago Press.
Peter Lipton (2004). Inference to the Best Explanation. Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Citations of this work BETA
D. Wade Hands (2013). Foundations of Contemporary Revealed Preference Theory. Erkenntnis 78 (5):1081-1108.
Aki Lehtinen (2013). Three Kinds of 'as-If' Claims. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (2):184-205.
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