Archivio per 15 febbraio 2015

15
Feb
15

Cognitive vs. behavioral in psychology, economics, and political science – Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

I’ve been coming across these issues from several different directions lately, and I wanted to get the basic idea down without killing myself in the writing of it. So consider this a sketchy first draft.

The starting point is “behavioral economics,” also known as the “heuristics and biases” subfield of cognitive psychology. It’s associated with various studies of cognitive illusions, settings where people systematically mispredict uncertain events or make decisions. Within psychology, this work is generally accepted but with some controversy which could be summed up in the phrase, “Kahneman versus Gigerenzer,” but it’s my impression that in recent years there’s been a bit of a convergence: for Kahneman the glass is half-empty and for Gigerenzer the glass is half-full, but whether you’re talking about “heuristics and biases” or “fast and frugal decision making,” there’s been a focus on understanding how our brains use contextual cues to decide how to solve a problem.

In economics, this work is more disputed because it seems to be in head-on conflict with models of utility-maximizing rationality from the 1930s-50s associated with the theories of Neumann and others on economic decision making. While some economists have embraced so-called “behavioral” ideas to explain imperfect markets, other economists are (a) skeptical about the relevance to real-world high-stakes behavior of laboratory findings on cognitive illusions and (b) wary of the political implications of social engineers who want to use cognitive biases to “nudge” people toward behavior they otherwise wouldn’t have done.

Within economics, I’d say that the behavioral/classical debate roughly follows left/right lines: on the left are the behaviorists who say that individuals and firms are irrational and thus we should not trust the judgment of the markets, instead we should regulate and protect people from their irrationality. On the right are the classicists who hold that people are rational when it comes to real economic decisions and thus any interference in the market, whether from governments or labor unions, will tend to make things worse.

 

See on andrewgelman.com

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15
Feb
15

Stirling Behavioural Science Blog : Reference bias in self-reported personality measures

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Reference bias in self-reported personality measuresPosted by Mark Egan at Saturday, February 14, 2015From p18 of Heckman & Kautz (2013). Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions that Improve Character and Cognition. NBER Working Paper:

“Answers from self-reports can be misleading when comparing levels of personality skills across different groups of people. Most personality assessments do not anchor their measurements in any objective outcome. For example, the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) survey asks respondents to rate themselves on the following statement:"I see myself as someone who tends to be lazy”. The scale ranges from 1 = “strongly disagree” to 7 = “strongly agree.” In answering this question, people must interpret the definition of “lazy,” which likely involves comparing themselves to other people. If different groups have different standards or reference points, comparing traits across groups can be highly misleading. Laziness may mean different things to different groups of people.

Schmitt, Allik, McCrae, and Benet-Mart nez (2007) administer a Big Five personality questionnaire to groups of people in a variety of different countries. Using their estimates, [the below figure] shows how OECD countries rank in Conscientiousness from high to low. The bars display the average number of hours that people work in the country. The results are surprising. South Korea ranks second to last in terms of Conscientiousness but also ranks first in the number of hours worked. South Korea is not an anomaly. Country-level reports of Big Five Conscientiousness are unrelated to the number of hours worked.“
See on economicspsychologypolicy.blogspot.it

15
Feb
15

Sul’incompletezza del paradigma socio-economico neoclassico e su un’introduzione alla bioeconomia come frontiera unificante del pensiero scientifico-etico

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Gli ultimi eredi del paradigma epistemologico Newtoniano meccanicista-deterministico, dettato dalla consapevolezza di poter descrivere con misure di oggettività non criticabile le leggi fisiche(dunque il mondo, tale è il tema criticato in questo scritto e non la validità del formalismo nella scienza fisica) tramite il formalismo matematico, sono stati gli “scienziati” economici neoclassici.
Il neoclassicismo si sviluppa intorno alla fine dell’800 e rivendica un approccio deduttivo-aprioristico che presumeva di poter descrivere il funzionamento del sistema economico meramente tramite l’uso di leggi epistematiche che offrivano astrazioni matematiche creatrici di “verità economiche” per compiersi nella “meccanica dell’utilità e dell’interesse individuale”(Javons).
L’individuazione di “teorie precarie” nel paradigma meccanistico-neoclassico si ha nell’osservare le formulazioni teoriche di tali economisti, i quali lavoravano e studiavano il sistema economico in configurazione di una concorrenza perfetta, ovvero un sistema deduttivo-matematico che presupponeva la razionalità dei consumatori come postulato(homo oeconomicus) e la libertà di informazione sociale(trasparenza) senza concorrenza sleale. Come si ben notare, qualsiasi occhio critico e di prospettiva realista si accorge che è impraticabile un’assunzione del sistema economico in questi termini, infatti il concetto di razionalità è ben discusso e ambiguo ed allo stesso tempo è ben constatato che la scienza economica dell’informazione consideri come uno dei fenomeni fondamentali del mercato odierno, l’asimmetria informativa, ovvero un conflitto di interessi che si sposta sul piano informativo-comunicativo dove una parte di popolazione detiene maggior informazioni socio-economiche per poter agire nel proprio interesse utilitaristico-individuale; un esempio chiaro:

See on youlogosblog.wordpress.com




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