Behavioral Economics: Importance, Concept Examples

What it is: Behavioral economics is the branch of economics that studies how the effects of psychological factors influence and explain economic decision making. It studies the cognitive, emotional, cultural and social effects on decisions made by economic actors.

Behavioral economics emerged in the 20th century along with advances from the fields of psychology and neuroscience. Through his book The Economic Approach to Human Behavior in 1976, economist Gary S. Becker describes rational choice theory. The theory tells you that economic actors have stable preferences and seek to maximize behavior. He uses an economic approach to understand all human behavior including those related to social interactions, crime and punishment and irrational behavior. Some of the leading contributors to the study of behavioral economics are Herbert Simon, Daniel Kahneman, George Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller, and Richard Thaler.

The importance of behavioral economics

Behavioral economics is a relatively modern economic theory. It is important to understand economic behavior and understand the reasons why economic actors perform certain actions. Then, behavioral economists use social, moral, and psychological factors to study them.

In textbooks in general, economic actors are assumed to be rational. Individuals seek to maximize satisfaction when consuming goods and services. And, …