Cognition and Extended Rational Choice

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One of the most exciting recent innovations in the social sciences has been the emergence of "behavior economics," which extends the notion of rational choice to allow for both motivation beyond self-interest and intuitions that cannot be reduced to the logic of a situation. This new book by Howard Margolis demonstrates how an account of widely-discussed topics, from tipping points in social choice to cognitive illusions and experimental anomalies, can be brought within a coherent framework.

Starting from Darwin's own comments on the origins of moral concerns and from a review of notorious cognitive illusions, Margolis shows how rational choice theory can be extended to incorporate social as well as self-interested motivation, but allowing for the cognitive complications that can be expected in domains well-outside familiar experience. This yields a coherent account of many otherwise mystifying results from cooperation experiments. A concluding chapter illustrates how the argument can be applied to the salient empirical topic of jihadist terrorism.

This book will be of great interest not only to students and researchers in behavioral and experimental economics but across the social sciences.

About the Author:
Howard Margolis is a Professor in the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies and the College

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Twenty-five years ago I strongly recommended Margolis’s Selfishness, Altruism, and Rationality. Now, five books later, it is exciting to see how much farther he's taken that theory, supported it with an extensive review of laboratory experiments, and applied it to groups, large and small, resolving numerous puzzles along the way." - Thomas C. Schelling , 2005 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415701976
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/14/2007
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard Margolis is a Professor in the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies and the College. He has taught at the University of California-Irvine, and has held research positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Margolis' major research interest is in social theory, particularly the underpinnings of individual choice and judgment, which shape aggregate social outcomes. The principal results of this work have been five books: Selfishness, Altruism & Rationality (Cambridge University Press, 1982, University of Chicago Press, 1984); Patterns, Thinking & Cognition (University of Chicago Press, 1987), Paradigms and Barriers (University of Chicago Press, 1993), Dealing with Risk: Why the Public and the Experts Disagree on Environmental Issues (University of Chicago Press, 1996) and It Started with Copernicus: How Turning the World Inside Out Led to the Scientific Revolution (McGraw-Hill 2002).

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Table of Contents

List of figures     vii
List of tables     viii
Acknowledgements     ix
Introduction     1
The NSNX model     6
Dual-utilities     22
Equilibrium norms     31
The Schelling diagram     49
Using the S-diagram     73
Adverse defaults     87
Anomalies in experimental economics     107
NSNX effects in the Public Goods game     129
Reciprocity puzzles     155
Social illusions     178
Notes on terrorism     194
Notes on the template     208
QRE and NSNX     211
Notes     228
References     233
Index     239
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