Economics as a Science of Human Behaviour

Economics as a Science of Human Behaviour : Towards a New Social Science Paradigm

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This book champions the view that economics is a social science, and that, moreover, it may serve as a new paradigm for the social sciences. Economics is taken to be part of those sciences which deal with actual problems of society by providing insights, improving our understanding and suggesting solutions. I am aware that the way problems are addressed here has little in common with economics as it is generally understood today; most economists make strong efforts to imitate the exact sciences. Economics tends to become a branch of applied mathematics; the majority of all publications in professional journals and books are full of axioms, lemmas and proofs, and they are much concerned with purely formal deductions. Often, when the results are translated into verbal language, or when they are applied empirically, disappointingly little of interest remains. The book wants to show that another type of economics exists which is surprisingly little known. This type of economics has its own particular point of view.
It centres on a concept of man, or a model of human behaviour, which differs from those normally used in other social sciences such as sociology, political science, law, or psychology. I do not, how- ever, claim that economics is the only legitimate social science. On the vii viii PREFACE contrary, economics can provide useful insights only in collaboration with the other social sciences-an aspect which has been disregarded by mathematically oriented economics.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 267 pages
  • 158.75 x 240 x 25.4mm | 555g
  • United States
  • English
  • biography
  • 0792391926
  • 9780792391920

Table of contents

Preface. Part A: Human Behaviour. 1. Economics as a Social Science: Approach, Applications and Interdisciplinarity. 2. Economics and Psychology: Homo Oeconomicus. Part B: Applications to Various Areas. 3. Natural Environment: Environmental Protection and Environmental Ethics. 4. Politics: Unemployment and National Socialism. 5. Arts: Investments in Paintings. 6. Family: Patriarchy in China. 7. Conflict: Fighting Political Terrorism by Refusing Recognition. 8. History: Prisoners of War. Part C: Extensions. 9. Limits and Further Development of Homo Oeconomicus. 10. The Price System and Morals. 11. Behavioural Anomalies and Economics. 12. An Ipsative Theory of Human Behaviour. References. Author Index. Subject Index.
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Review quote

'The book should be widely read and used as a basis for further research by many other people.' Journal of Economics/Zeitschrift f. Nat. 'This book uses the economic way of thinking to analyze important social questions. Readers will find numerous insights as Bruno Frey is imaginative and controversial. No social scientist should miss this wonderful essay on prisoners-of-war. I strongly recommend the discussion of patriarchal families, investment in art and other essays.' Gary S. Becker, Nobel Laureate in Economics 'Professor Frey presents some fascinating applications of economics to phenomena normally considered to be wholly outside the economist's competence'.' George J. Stigler (DAGGER), Nobel Laureate in Economics 'Bruno Frey extends the domain of economics while ... stressing the limits of its explanatory value. The book uses the 'New Political Economy' to offer insights for psychology, environmentalism, politics, the arts, the family, war, and history while, at the same time, foreswearing claims to all-inclusive explanation. Basic economic theory is applied imaginatively and critically to offer sometimes surprising and always interesting increments to our understanding of real world events, past and present.' James M. Buchanan, Nobel Laureate in Economics
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