New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2013‒01‒19
three papers chosen by

  1. The New Science of Pleasure By Daniel L. McFadden
  2. The Evolution of Altruistic Preferences: Mothers versus Fathers By Alger, Ingela; Cox, Donald
  3. Games with Unawareness By Feinberg, Yossi

  1. By: Daniel L. McFadden
    Abstract: The neoclassical view of consumers as relentless egoistic maximizers is challenged by evidence from cognitive psychology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and neurology. This paper begins by surveying the development of neoclassical consumer theory and the measurement of welfare, and expansions to encompass preference fields, nonlinear budgets, hedonic goods and household production, and consumption dynamics. Following this, it reviews the newer evidence on consumer behavior, and what this implies for the measurement of consumer beliefs, intentions, preferences, choices, and well-being.
    JEL: D03 D1
    Date: 2013–01
  2. By: Alger, Ingela (TSE (LERNA, CNRS) Univesité Toulouse 1 Capitole); Cox, Donald (Boston College)
    Abstract: What can evolutionary biology tell us about male-female differences in preferences concerning family matters? Might mothers be more solicitous toward offspring than fathers, for example? The economics literature has documented gender differences—children benefit more from money put in the hands of mothers rather than fathers, for example—and these differences are thought to be partly due to preferences. Yet for good reason family economics is mostly concerned with how prices and incomes affect behavior against a backdrop of exogenous preferences. Evolutionary biology complements this approach by treating preferences as the outcome of natural selection. We mine the well-developed biological literature to make a prima facie case for evolutionary roots of parental preferences. We consider the most rudimentary of traits—sex differences in gamete size and internal fertilization—and explain how they have been thought to generate malefemale differences in altruism toward children and other preferences related to family behavior. The evolutionary approach to the family illuminates connections between issues typically thought distinct in family economics, such as parental care and marriage markets.
    Date: 2012–12–31
  3. By: Feinberg, Yossi (Stanford University)
    Abstract: We provide a tool to model and solve strategic situations where players' perceptions are limited, in the sense that they may only be aware of, or model, some of the aspects of the strategic situations at hand, as well as situations where players realize that other players' perceptions may be limited. We define normal, repeated, incomplete information and dynamic (extensive) form games with unawareness using a unified methodology. A game with unawareness is defined as a collection of standard games (of the corresponding form). The collection specifies how each player views the game, how she views the other players' perceptions of the game and so on. The modeler's description of perceptions, the players' description of other players' reasoning, etc. are shown to have consistent representations. We extend solution concepts such as rationalizability and Nash equilibrium to these games and study their properties. It is shown that while unawareness in normal form games can be mapped to incomplete information games, the extended Nash equilibrium solution is not mapped to a known solution concept in the equivalent incomplete information games, implying that games with unawareness generate novel types of behavior.
    JEL: C72 D81 D82
    Date: 2012–08

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