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Neuroeconomics and modern neuroscience

CEE-M Working Papers from CEE-M, Universtiy of Montpellier, CNRS, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro

Abstract: The paper is an overview of the main significant advances in the knowledge of brain functioning by modern neuroscience that have contributed to the emergence of neuroeconomics and its rise over the past two decades. These advances are grouped over three non-independent topics referred to as the “emo-rational” brain, “social” brain, and “computational” brain. For each topic, it emphasizes findings considered as critical to the birth and development of neuroeconomics while highlighting some of prominent questions about which knowledge should be improved by future research. In parallel, it shows that the boundaries between neuroeconomics and several recent subfields of cognitive neuroscience, such as affective, social, and more generally, decision neuroscience, are rather porous. It suggests that a greater autonomy of neuroeconomics should perhaps come from the development of studies about more economic policy-oriented concerns. In order to make the paper accessible to a large audience the various neuroscientific notions used are defined and briefly explained. In the same way, for economists not specialized in experimental and behavioral economics, the definition of the main economic models referred to in the text is recalled.

Neuroeconomics is still a nascent scientific field, two decades old at the most. Although much remains to be done, a great deal of results has already been proven about how the human brain makes choices, and these findings provide insights into the understanding of economic behavior in many domains. Undoubtedly, without the availability of an extensive variety of experimental designs for dealing with individual and social decision-making provided by experimental economics, many neuroeconomics studies could not have been developed. Indeed, it is very likely that, for future historians of economics, lab experiments will be “one of the most stunning methodological revolutions in the history of science” (Guala, 2009, 152). At the same time, without the significant progress made in modern neurosciencefor grasping and understanding brain functioning, neuroeconomics would have never seen the light of day.

Keywords: neuroeconomicsneurosciencebehavioral economicsexperimental economics 
Date: 2019

Daniel Serra
Additional contact information

Downloads: (external link)
https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02160907/document 

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