By Bruno S. Frey
This e-book champions the view that economics is a social technology, and that, additionally, it could function a brand new paradigm for the social sciences. Economics is taken to be a part of these sciences which take care of real difficulties of society by way of delivering insights, bettering our knowing and suggesting ideas. i'm conscious that the way in which difficulties are addressed right here has little in universal with economics because it is usually understood this day; such a lot economists make robust efforts to mimic the precise sciences. Economics has a tendency to develop into a department of utilized arithmetic; nearly all of all courses in specialist journals and books are choked with axioms, lemmas and proofs, and they're a lot considering merely formal deductions. usually, whilst the implications are translated into verbal language, or once they are utilized empirically, disappointingly little of curiosity is still. The e-book desires to express that one other form of economics exists that's strangely little identified. this kind of economics has its personal specific standpoint. It centres on an idea of guy, or a version of human behaviour, which differs from these commonly utilized in different social sciences equivalent to sociology, political technology, legislation, or psychology. i don't, how ever, declare that economics is the single valid social technology. at the vii viii PREFACE opposite, economics supplies valuable insights in simple terms in collaboration with the opposite social sciences-an element which has been skipped over through mathematically orientated economics.
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Extra resources for Economics As a Science of Human Behaviour: Towards a New Social Science Paradigm
Attempts have always been made, for instance, to influence perceptions in order to reach political goals. " It may well be that the most effective way to fight crime is not to increase the rate of apprehension or the size of punishment. Rather, improved information on the risks of carrying out criminal acts may more significantly influence the perception and behaviour of potential law breakers. Identification of Benefits and Costs Economics is characterized by "if/then" statements of the following kind: If benefits exceed costs, that is, if net benefits are positive, then there exists an incentive to undertake a particular activity.
Many important areas of nature such as pure air, clean water, a beautiful landscape and tranquillity are characterized by the fact that all persons (of a particular region) may benefit to approximately the same extent. Not everyone values these environmental amenities equally, but what matters is that they may be consumed irrespective of whether one has contributed to the supply and the cost or not. Even those, for example, who are not prepared to stop driving a car benefit from the improvement in the quality of the air if all other people were to do so.
A person expects the other members of society to be likely to act (the probability is 60%) in a way which is exactly the contrary of his or her own actions. The person thus assumes a kind of defiant reaction from the others. As may be seen from table 3-4, under these conditions selfish behaviour has a higher expected value than behaviour according to environmental ethics. Taking care of the environment is not worth while for any person, especially because the others do not follow the example set anyway, but rather burden him or 44 Table 3-3.
Economics As a Science of Human Behaviour: Towards a New Social Science Paradigm by Bruno S. Frey